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The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Charter mandates the organisation to play the role of the Pacific regional platform for the South-South and other international groupings. This was highlighted by the Forums Secretary General, François Martel during the official launching of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation In Action publication, a collaborative effort between PIDF and the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation(UNOSSC), at a special side event at the BAPA+40.
“It is one thing to have this in writing on a document, and quite another to make it a reality in a region dominated by traditional ODA since independence 40 to 50 years ago,” highlighted the PIDF Secretary General.
Secretary General Martel told those present at the publication launch event that the PIDF has been given by the Pacific Leaders a special mandate on this matter having an entirely Pacific and multi-stakeholder governance system and in this context, PIDF aims to serve as a platform for examining, up scaling and sharing success stories and models in the field of green/economy, promoting innovation and cost effective solutions for the benefit of Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).
“This publication is about our efforts so far. It describes our journey, our first three years of existence, aiming to achieving this mandate. It is divided in three chapters”, he informed those in attendance.
The first Chapter describes our new organisation, its origins, our principles, membership, our organisational values and policy framework and structure for delivery on sustainable development and poverty eradication. The second Chapter looks at applying South-South and triangular cooperation in the Pacific, and describes projects implemented through the assistance of the Global south and coordinated by the organisation through technical partnerships globally. The third Chapter focuses on PIDF links to the regional initiatives and the international development agenda, mainly on climate action, the SAMOA pathway and the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs implementation and how South-South, Intra-Pacific and Inter-SIDS cooperation contributes to our efforts.
“This is the voice of the Pacific Islands in regards to South-South cooperation – a story for the first time told as we recently held the first Pacific Consultations on South-South cooperation where we did a soft launch, and already, we have been tasked by its multi-stakeholder participants to look at two future publications – one on mapping South-South cooperation in the Pacific and another on Monitoring and Evaluation methodologies to measure impacts and lessons learned from this cooperation in the Pacific Islands, in support to SDG17 on partnerships”, remarked the PIDF Secretary General.
Secretary General Martel also participated on an interactive panel for a side event on “Shaping the Future of Regional SSC: Sharing ASEAN Experiences and Nurturing Synergies Across Regions”, on an invitation by UNOSSC and made contributions which focused on regionalisation and South-South Cooperation in terms of sharing best practices.
The PIDF Secretary General highlighted that traditionally, Pacific islands countries have continued to rely on ODA from developed countries in that sphere of geo-political influence and this represented the standard status quo on development assistance, including the support of regional inter-governmental organizations until around 2010.
“PIDF was originally initiated by the Government of the Republic of Fiji in 2013 to challenge this status-quo and affirm the capacity of Pacific Islands to collaborate with emerging and south economies providing a first opportunity to engage in south-south cooperation”, said the Secretary General.
“So, it is not surprising that our Foundational Development Partners are all South-South Cooperation proponents and emerging economies, they were China, the Republic of Turkey, State of Kuwait, State of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates”, he added.
Secretary General Martel said that PIDF partnerships have been essentially focused on South-south and in some cases triangular cooperation – recent in key ones include among others:
• With the Government of India and partnership with TERI and FICCI, coordinate the India-Pacific Sustainable Development Conference as a sub-regional preparation for the Global Summit held in New Delhi in 2017. Also on solarization leadership in 11 Pacific countries through the India-UN Partnership fund.
• With the Governments of China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Indonesia and State of Qatar to organise the first High-level Pacific Blue Economy Conference to showcase lessons learned from the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific countries and organizations to develop a roadmap for sustainable blue economy for the Pacific.
• With the Government of Indonesia in implementing capacity-building and training for Melanesian Spearhead Group and PIDF member countries.
• In partnership with the Government of Korea and the Global Green Growth Institute, part of a green growth and rural energy mainstreaming project in four Melanesian countries.
• More recently, PIDF has been approved by the China South-South Assistance Fund for Sustainable Development – managed under CICETE, as a regional organization eligible for funding in the Pacific.
• As a Pacific SIDS organisation and a member of the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA) and the Global Partnership on SIDS our focus is also in promoting actively intra-Pacific cooperation and Inter-SIDS collaboration and exchanges. This includes cooperation with the Aruba Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development in SIDS and planning further collaboration with the James Michel Foundation in the Seychelles and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as we share many challenges, opportunities and vulnerabilities.
PIDF sees South-South cooperation as a key element of SDG implementation in the Pacific Islands, as it brings in not only relevant and comparable expertise and exchanges but also a strong solidarity approach. An MOU was signed between PIDF and the UNOSSC in 2017 to be officially recognised as the South-South cooperation platform for the Pacific Islands - a distinct niche for PIDF as part of the Pacific regional architecture.
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