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PRESS STATEMENT February 11, 2000

Two regional organizations received further funding today from Taiwan as part of a U.S. million dollar package of assistance covering seven organizations for this year.

The Representative of the Trade Mission for Taiwan/ROC in Fiji, Mr. C.K. Ning, handed over US$125,000 for two projects implemented by the Suva-based South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), and US$99,760 for four projects implemented by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) based in the Solomon Islands.

The assistance was earlier pledged during the Seventh Taiwan/ROC-Forum Countries Dialogue held in Koror, Republic of Palau last October.

Taiwan had agreed to fund 27 projects submitted by regional organizations for implementation this year, amounting to US$1,028,454, a 40 percent increase over 1999 figures. This does not include Taiwan's bilateral assistance.

In addition, Taiwan introduced a new Scholarship Scheme for Forum Island Countries worth US$500,000 annually, to begin some time in 2000, taking its regional assistance to more than US$1.5 million for the year.

"The assistance that the region receives from Taiwan and its other development partners is very much appreciated. This strong show of support is going a long way towards helping to address the challenges we face in trying to develop a secure and viable future for member countries," said Mr. Noel Levi, CBE, the Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, where the hand over ceremony with Taiwan was held.

For additional information, contact: Ulafala Aiavao at UlafalaA@forumsec.org.fj 

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