The Pacific Islands Forum, through its Geneva Office, proudly announces the signing of a transformative AUD$14.7 million(US$9.67 million) grant agreement with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Spanning 4 years from 2024 to 2027, this funding initiative marks a significant step forward in advancing trade development across the Pacific.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony attended by Ambassador James Baxter of the Australian Permanent Mission to the WTO in Geneva and Ambassador Mere Falemaka of the PIF Permanent delegation to the WTO and UN in Geneva.

The Agreement has two components:

*Support for PIF Geneva Office: The grant confirms resources for the PIF Geneva Office’s core functions, including support for WTO negotiations and multilateral trade engagement, export promotion through Pacific Trade Invest Europe, and new resources for engagement on UN non-trade functions of priority to the Pacific.

*Consolidation of Aid for Trade Initiatives: This funding consolidates DFATsupport for Pacific Aid for Trade initiatives under a coherent mechanism. New funding under the agreement will support the Pacific E-commerce Initiative and the Pacific Multilateral Trade Negotiations Programme.

In his comments, Ambassador Baxter noted the pivotal role of the PIF Geneva Office for our member states “Australia is enthusiastic about enhancing support for Pacific Aid for Trade initiatives, ensuring sustained funding, and fostering long-term collaboration. Our commitment to funding the core activities of this Office, alongside additional support for the Secretariat’s Pacific E-commerce Coordination team and the Office’s vital engagement with the UN and its specialised agencies, reflects our confidence in this enduring partnership”.

Responding on behalf of the Forum Secretary-General Baron Waqa, Ambassador Falemaka welcomed the funding boost for Pacific Trade, thanking Australia “for its steadfast support through this new Grant Funding Arrangement. This arrangement marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our cooperation. Through this grant, the Forum’s role as the prime regional provider of trade development services to our members will be further consolidated, and our partnership strengthened.”