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Pacific ahead of other ACP regions in allocating Aid for Trade funds, Forum Secretariat
4:23 pm GMT+12, 03/03/2011, Fiji
The Pacific is one of the first regions of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) to fully allocate its Aid for Trade funds from the European Commission.

35 million Euros has been assigned to the region for 2008-2013, the period of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

A Financing Agreement for 28 million Euros of this allocation will be signed on Friday in Port Vila for the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade project, said a statement from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“A further 7 million Euros has been allocated to two additional projects which are going through the final phases of application now.

“This means the full 35 million Euros has been programmed by Pacific ACPS, the statement added.

Several ACP regions have yet to fully programme their Aid for Trade funds for a range of reasons.

“This means that we are well advanced in our access and use of EU-provided Aid for Trade funds and will be commencing our projects to support trade before some other regions complete their allocation process.

Funds are programmed through a PACP defined and directed process, which was developed in early 2010.

“We are now seeking additional sources of funds to be allocated through this process, both from the EC and from other development partners, said PIFS.

PACNEWS understands that two proposals have been selected for funding in 2011. These are the revised allocation of 3 million Euros proposed for the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser for PACER Plus, based in Vanuatu and a 4 million Euros proposal for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to fund Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) related issues.

Aid for Trade aims to help developing countries undertake appropriate trade and regulatory reforms to improve their supply capacity and trade-related infrastructure. It also helps countries adopt necessary adjustment measures to be able to benefit from international trade opportunities arising from multilateral, regional and bilateral trade regimes.

Aid for Trade initiatives fall into one of six categories - trade policy and regulations, trade development, trade-related infrastructure, building productive capacity, trade-related adjustment and other trade-related needs.

At a recent World Trade Organisation workshop for Small, Vulnerable Economies in Geneva, Switzerland, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) shared the progress made in the Pacific on the implementation of the Pacific Aid For Trade Strategy.

PIFS has placed the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy within the regional framework of the Pacific Plan and the Cairns Compact. It has identified key challenges for the region including securing Aid for Trade support, improving the implementation of projects, creating regional resources and making better use of market access.

Commenting on the Forum Secretariat’s work to coordinate and strengthen Aid for Trade to the region, Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade said:  “Pacific island countries are making good progress on the identification of Aid for Trade priorities. This reflects the high priority the region places on increasing trade and creating employment and livelihood opportunities for our communities.”

“But more work needs to be done to ensure projects are well targeted, deliver clear and tangible benefits to stakeholders and communities, and to demonstrate “value for money” to development partners.

The Forum Secretariat has developed an ambitious future work programme which builds on preparatory work undertaken over the past year. This work programme will commence with a refresh and renew process to strengthen the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy,” Slade said.

SOURCE: PACNEWS

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