Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
20th September 2012: Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ms Saipora Mataikabara stressed that ODA from any donor government or agency would only reach the grassroots people and the less fortunate if it is aligned to the recipient country’s national priority goals.
Speaking at the first Korea-Pacific Senior Officials Meeting held in Seoul on 18th September 2012 to review the progress of agreements made at the Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ meeting last year, Ms Mataikabara reiterated that aid to be effective must be needs-based and aligned to national interest and priorities. She also highlighted that Fiji would prefer bilateral engagements when it comes to the Korea-Pacific Island cooperation. “Our preference would be bilateral but if regional mechanisms are to be used as vehicle to deliver aid, than we encourage Korea to look beyond the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to other equally important agencies and forums like the recently-endorsed Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and at sub-regional level the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and others,” she said.
Ms Mataikabara also thanked the Korean Government for this generous venture and its commitment to the development of Pacific Island countries.
“The Fiji Government greatly values the continuous commitment by the Korean Government to engage Pacific Island countries in discussing ways to expand cooperation in the areas of development, climate change and environmental issues. The effort to expand trade and investments to include fisheries, marine resources, energy and tourism, is greatly appreciated,” said Ms. Mataikabara.
She also updated the meeting on Fiji’s progress on the agreements made at the Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ meeting and emphasised Fiji’s stand and preference on the modality to be used for ODA, in particular, the Korea-PIF Cooperation Fund.
She added that since the Korea-PIF Cooperation Fund is managed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Fiji will be at a disadvantage because of the current Fiji-PIF situation. Hence, it would only be proper for the Cooperation to have some flexibility and to consider other modalities that would be appropriate for Fiji’s case.
On the Review, officials discussed key issues of common interest for Pacific Island countries which included strengthening cooperation in infrastructure and capacity-building in the fisheries sector, public health and medical services in the region, deep-sea minerals, climate change, protection of the environment and developments in the energy sector.
Ms Mataikabara also paid a courtesy call on the Director-General for South Asia and Pacific Affairs, H.E. Mr. Park Hae-yun where she expressed Fiji’s gratitude to the Government and people of Korea on their continued support for Fiji’s development programmes.
H.E. Mr. Park in response conveyed the Korean Government’s gratitude to the Government of Fiji for its continuous support for Korea and the spirit of goodwill with which the two countries have conducted their bilateral engagements.
The next round of the senior officials meeting will be conducted next year to further discuss issues that would be tabled at the next Korea-Pacific Foreign Ministers’ meeting the following year.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji