SEOUL, SOUTH Korea—A more targeted and mutually accountable regional partnership that clearly sets out the specific areas of the Republic of Korea’s assistance was agreed upon during a 2nd Korea-Pacific Islands Senior Officials Meeting held in Seoul last week.
Fourteen Pacific Island countries from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat met senior officials from the Republic of Korea.
The meeting, which highlighted the need to intensify cooperation in climate change, development cooperation, marine, and fisheries management, was expected to help expand South Korea’s diplomatic horizon and build a stronger foundation for cooperation between the two sides by contributing to Pacific Island countries’ sustainable development and fight against climate change.
South Korea and Pacific Island countries agreed that a more targeted and mutually accountable regional partnership is needed to be developed between them, one that spells out in clear terms the specific areas of South Korea’s assistance and level of assistance needed to support its implementation, according to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“This is a significant step in the right direction for [Korea]-Pacific Island countries relations especially in regards to measuring effective development partnerships. It was also acknowledged that the scope of development cooperation needed to be broadened beyond overseas development assistance, with consideration of the promotion of private sector engagement, trade and investment and greater access to climate change financing as central to supporting coordination between ROK and Pacific Island countries.”
The Pacific Ocean remains an issue of significant and equal importance to South Korea and Pacific Island countries as a mutually beneficial resource. It was acknowledged that there was a scope to collaborate in the field of marine resource management, marine scientific research and technology, capacity building, tourism, energy and deep-sea minerals.
The meeting also stressed the importance of maintaining environmental integrity while pursuing the sustainable development of natural resources, including for increasing Pacific Island countries capacity and surveillance on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fisheries in the Pacific.
Pacific Island countries representatives also extended their gratitude to the Korean government’s assistance in enhancing the public health and medical services in the region through the Primary Health Care Training program under the 2011-13 ROK-PIF Cooperation Fund allocation.
As part of meeting its commitments under the 2011 ROK-Pacific Island countries Ministerial Joint Statement, the Republic of Korea reinforced its intent to reach the US$1 million annual allocation in the next funding cycle of 2014-16. (Matangi Tonga)