STATEMENT: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew P. Daley United States of America

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STATEMENT  

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Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew P. Daley United States of America

Pacific Islands Forum Post-Forum Dialogue Nadi, Republic of the Fiji Islands August 23, 2002

Mr. Chairman, Forum members, Mr. Secretary General,

On behalf of the United States delegation, let me express our good wishes to all of you here today.  We particularly want to thank the Government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands and Forum members and staff for the hospitality and courtesies that we have received.

Assistant Secretary Jim Kelly very much looked forward to being here today, but events elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region has prevented him from attending.  He asked me to convey his regrets and warm regards and, I'm pleased to say, delegated me to represent him.  As I learned in Nauru last year, these sessions are a valuable opportunity to expand and deepen our close relations with Forum members.  I already have had a number of very good bilateral meetings and look forward to more before our time together here ends.

The U.S. greatly values its partnership with the Pacific island nations.  We work together closely in the United Nations and numerous other international organizations, in which we cooperate to advance many high priority objectives we share.

Today, we continue to have many interests in the Pacific, and intend to intensify our engagement with Forum member countries.  U.S. assistance to the region under an agreement with the Forum Fisheries Agency will increase from $14 million to $18 million.  We will continue to support Pacific island projects under our various regional fund programs and we are considering how to give our Ambassadors in the Pacific island nations funding to support local projects in areas like democracy, human rights and the environment.  Our goal is to give our Ambassadors the flexibility to put to use their unique understanding of local conditions.

The U.S. tries to leverage the resources we have available.  Peace Corps Volunteers make substantial contributions across the region.  We work with the Pacific Islands on environmental issues, including continuing support for the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), and our support for, and participation in, the South Pacific Regional Environment Program based in Samoa.  Through the Joint Commercial Commission, we sponsor workshops and conferences that have expanded trade and investment between the Pacific islands and the U.S.

This Administration remains committed to strengthening our engagement with the Pacific.  Assistant Secretary Kelly traveled to New York this year to meet the Pacific island representatives to the UN and met again with Forum representatives in Honolulu.  Secretary Powell attended the annual Pacific Night this year -- the first time in years that a Secretary of State has done so.  Also present at Pacific night were both the Chairman and Ranking Member of our House of Representatives' Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific.  Having appeared before that subcommittee last month, I can assure you its members share the Administration's commitment to strong U.S.-Pacific ties.

I look forward to thorough discussion today of specific items on the U.S.-Forum agenda, but let me touch briefly on some of the primary subjects of mutual concern: advancing regional and international security, encouraging economic reform and private sector development, promoting sustainable development, and cooperating on the environment. 

Regional and International Security

In the wake of the events of September 11, we have been deeply gratified by Forum governments' assurances of strong support for the international war on terrorism.  I commend Forum members that have taken expeditious action after September 11 to sign and ratify the 12 United Nations conventions on counter terrorism.  I urge Forum members that have not already done so to complete this process as soon as possible.

Since September 11, we have redoubled our effort to work actively with Pacific island countries to ensure that they are able to fulfill their international commitments to deny potential terrorists the infrastructure they need to operate.  Forum members have emphasized to us their desire to contribute more effectively, but some have expressed concern that they do not have the resources or expertise to do so.  We are eager and ready to assist where we can.  Senior legal, law enforcement, and financial regulatory officials representing Forum governments participated in the Pacific Island Regional Counter-terrorism Workshop in Honolulu at the end of March.  Legal and law enforcement experts from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States have been working with their island counterparts to improve their border enforcement capabilities and legal infrastructure.  However, we know that much work remains to be done.

In the near future we plan to notify Congress of our intent to finance a project through the Forum Secretariat to help the islands move closer to compliance with their international CT obligations.  The project will focus on enacting and implementing standard legal provisions across the Pacific to facilitate regional law enforcement cooperation and compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. 

Economic Reform and Development

United Nations Conference on Financing for Development:  The Forum was well represented at the landmark United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey in March.  The importance the United States attached to the meeting was underscored by the participation of President Bush, Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of the Treasury O'Neill.

At Monterrey, leaders agreed on the Monterrey Consensus, which embodies a new approach to development, and stresses the primary responsibility of developing countries, with international support, to:

§   Practice good governance and establish sound institutions and market-oriented economic policies;

§   Create investment-friendly environments, increase trade, and improve productivity;

§    Encourage private enterprise as an important means to generate economic growth and development;

§   Increase human capacity by improving the health and educational achievements of people;

§   Use substantial increases in development assistance effectively; and

§    Build capacity to trade and to attract investment.

The Monterrey Consensus has laid out by far the most practical framework to pursue the type of development that will benefit people.  Developing countries and donors alike need to follow through on the implementation.  We are committed to cooperate in ensuring that the UN and other international organizations use their development discussions and programs to further the goals of the Monterrey Consensus.

President Bush told the Monterrey Conference that the United States would increase its core assistance to developing countries by 50% over the next 3 years, resulting in a $5 billion annual increase over current levels by FY 2006.  This increased assistance will go to a new Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to fund initiatives to improve the economies and standards of living in qualified developing countries.  The goal of the MCA is to reward sound policy decisions that support economic growth and reduce poverty.

The MCA recognizes that economic development assistance can be successful only if it is linked to sound policies in developing countries.  In sound policy environments, every dollar of aid attracts two dollars of private capital.  In countries where poor public policy dominates, aid can harm the very citizens it is meant to help – crowding out private investment and perpetuating failed policies.

The funds in the Millennium Challenge Account will be distributed to developing countries that demonstrate a strong commitment to:

§   Rooting out corruption, upholding human rights, and adherence to the rule of law.

§   Investment in education and health care.

§   Sound economic policies that foster enterprise and entrepreneurship.

World Summit on Sustainable Development: We understand that the Forum also will be well represented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development that will take place in Johannesburg August 26 to September 4.  At this sequel to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the United States' message in Johannesburg will have two themes:

Sustainable development begins at home:  Poverty alleviation, improved health, and environmental stewardship all require good domestic governance, democratic societies, free markets, and accountable public and private sectors.

Implementation through partnerships: We have emphasized the importance of working not only with national governments but also with local governments, the private sector, and NGOs.

Success at Johannesburg depends on partnerships that achieve concrete results.  It is critical that Johannesburg preserve the historic consensus reached at Monterrey and not prejudge the outcomes of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations.

The Environment

Regional Oceans Policy: We welcome the development of regional oceans policies in oceans areas such as the South Pacific, and are pleased that the first such policy is emerging from the Pacific region.  The draft policy contains a great deal of wisdom, scientific merit, environmental sensitivity, and progressive thinking.

We commend the intention of drafters of the policy to build on existing international law, as embodied in the Law of The Sea Convention.  We hope the policy will make clear that it is founded on international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and that it is to be understood and applied consistent with international law as reflected in that Convention.

We also hope the policy will recognize the rights and responsibilities of non-Forum partners in the region.  Because such non-Forum partners do not have a formal role in consideration and approval of the policy, we urge that the policy apply to Forum members but that it also commit members of the Forum to work with non-Forum countries and territories in the area to promote the application of compatible policies by those partners in areas subject to their jurisdiction.

We are eager for the Forum's regional policy to attract favorable attention and acceptance at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  A policy founded on international law principles and carefully crafted to accommodate the interests of your partners in the Pacific will serve as a solid basis for a useful Strategic Action Plan, and as a model for other regions.

Fisheries:  We are pleased the U.S. and the Pacific Island parties this spring concluded an agreement to amend and extend the Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries for another ten years, until June of 2013.  Since 1988, this Treaty has been an important component of our cooperative relationship, and we look forward to continuing its mutual benefits.  We are also pleased to be working closely with the Pacific Island States on implementation of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention.  Through this Convention we will, together, ensure conservation and management of the fish stocks -- elements that are necessary if we are to provide for sustainable fisheries for our children and grandchildren.

Climate Change: President Bush has emphasized our commitment to working with our friends and allies to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.  We have been clear about our intention not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which we do not believe is in the best interest of the United States.  At the same time, we are and will remain actively engaged in discussions in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which the U.S. is a party.

Earlier this year, President Bush announced his climate change strategy, committing the United States to reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy by 18% over the next decade.  The President's plan is ambitious, yet realistic and achievable, reconciling our need for environmental stewardship with the need to sustain economic growth.  The U.S. is working closely with Pacific Island Countries on climate-related monitoring and assessment.  Our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) assists the overall Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) effort in the Pacific Islands with training and infrastructure support for the region's meteorologists to improve prediction, risk management, and adaptation planning.  The U.S. will also be collaborating with Australia in the new Climate Action Partnership, to cooperate with developing countries in the Pacific to build capacity to address climate change.  The President also committed to working with friends and allies to develop an effective, science-based response to the issue of global warming and to explore cleaner paths to sustainable development.

Peace Corps

Finally, I would like to bring you up to date on Peace Corps developments since we last met.  The Peace Corps continues to be one of our most successful programs in the Pacific.  Today approximately 300 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in this vast and diverse region supporting education, public health and development of youth, the economy, agriculture, rural communities, environmental resources, and nongovernmental organizations.

The Peace Corps is strongly committed to the Pacific, and intends to reopen its program in Fiji in the coming year.  An assessment to investigate potential for reopening the program in the Republic of the Marshall Islands is also planned.  Information technology is growing as an area for Peace Corps Volunteers working in the Pacific.  Recent project innovations include information technology training with various ministries in the government of Samoa, and developing community and school-based computer centers in Tonga. 

We remain very proud of the Peace Corps' "Pacific Initiative" that was launched in 1997.  This unique collaboration between Peace Corps and its regional and national partners in development focuses on programs to promote responsible management of the marine and land-based environment, and the development of island youth.  The Peace Corps has recently expanded its projects within the Pacific Initiative to maximize the program’s impact within these two critical areas.

The Pacific Initiative recently launched a National Youth Council Project in collaboration with the Pacific Youth Council, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, and the Commonwealth Youth Programme.  This project will support the establishment of non-governmental national youth councils throughout the region, including a curriculum in youth leadership and development.

Together with the Ministries of Agriculture in Samoa and Tonga, the Pacific Initiative launched a future farmers project in July 2000 to promote agricultural careers among youth of the Pacific.  This project expanded to Vanuatu in 2002. 

The Peace Corps has continued to promote conservation through the project “Capacity Building for Environmental Management in the Pacific,” a partnership with the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

In 2001, the Peace Corps began investigating potential for integrated coastal management projects as part of the Pacific Initiative.  With funding from USAID (the United States Agency for International Development), the Peace Corps has partnered with the University of the South Pacific, SPREP, and the University of Rhode Island to develop a project to promote effective coastal management strategies throughout the region.  

Conclusion

We look forward to continuing to cooperate with you to promote regional and international security, economic reform and development, and environmental protection.  The United States is actively engaged on all these fronts in the Pacific, and we greatly value our close collaboration with Forum governments to advance them in the United Nations and other international organizations as well.  We look forward to broadening and deepening this collaboration and, as always are eager to hear your ides on how we can do so.  Thank you again for inviting us here this week.

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