EUROPEAN UNION’S NIELSON TO SIGN 29 MILLION EUROS REGIONAL PROGRAM IN SUVA

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EUROPEAN UNION’S NIELSON TO SIGN 29 MILLION EUROS REGIONAL PROGRAM IN SUVA

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 27, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Europe's top development aid officer will sign the 29 million Euros Pacific Regional Indicative Program during his Pacific Islands visit beginning next week, the European Commission in Brussels confirmed.

[NOTE: 1 Euro = US$ 0.9767 on September 27, 2002]

The signing will be by Europe's Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.

It will cover European Union (EU) development assistance at a regional level in 2002-2007 under the Cotonou Agreement.

It is additional to the national programs the EU has with 14 Pacific countries under Cotonou. This is the major aid, trade and development partnership between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific) group of nations.

The 2002-2007 Pacific Regional Indicative Program is expected to provide EU development help for:

For the regional program, the Pacific ACP states are represented by the Pacific Islands Forum. Forum Secretary General Noel Levi serves as European Development Fund regional officer.

The signing will come as Mr. Nielson visits the region, New Zealand and Australia for two weeks, starting in Samoa on Tuesday.

It is the Commissioner’s first trip to the Pacific. It is planned to give him the opportunity to gain first hand experience of progress made and challenges faced by the Pacific ACP countries.

Mr. Nielson will have discussions on the political and economic situations of the Pacific island countries. These will focus particularly on the stated policy of advancing their integration into the regional and world economies.

The meetings will also cover important development issues, including good governance, conflict prevention, and the sustainable and equitable exploitation of natural resources, such as fisheries and forests.

Total EU assistance to the region has amounted to more than 1.3 billion Euros since 1975 and is running at about 100 million Euros per year.

A further 350 million Euros is planned for the next five years under the Cotonou Agreement.

Mr. Nielson will visit Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia.

In each country, the Commissioner will meet with the political leadership to discuss a wide-range of issues concerning development cooperation.

There will also be meetings with representatives of EU Member States, regional groupings, civil society, the press and academia as well as field trips to EU funded projects.

Commissioner Nielson's visit covers:

They will discuss ways in which closer aid cooperation can improve the overall impact of donor assistance to the Pacific and contribute more effectively to poverty alleviation and economic growth.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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