EU Provides Vanuatu Over $33 Million In Aid Funding

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

$22.6 million for development; $11.8 million for cyclone recovery

Compiled by Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 26, 2016) – The European Union (EU) has confirmed a top-up of 20 million Euro [US$22.6 million] towards Vanuatu’s National Indicative Programme Development Programme, and a further top-up of 10.5 million Euro [US$11.8 million] towards the Cyclone Pam Reconstruction Programme.

These new EU funding were announced by the Managing Director of the Asia/Pacific Desk in the European External Action Services (EEAS), Wiegand Gunnar to Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Leingkone who is currently in Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium, to undertake a series of meetings and consultations with both the EU authorities and the ACP Secretariat relating to ongoing support to the Government of Vanuatu.

On Tuesday last week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade paid a courtesy call on Gunnar at the EEAS Headquarter in Brussels.

In their joint discussion Minister Leingkone commended the European Union for their assistance to Vanuatu during and after the TCPAM process, which eventually led to the support to the rural communities affected by the natural disaster in Vanuatu.

The Foreign Minister reaffirmed the Government of Vanuatu’s unequivocal commitment and support to the growing EU technical assistance under the development cooperation framework, which Vanuatu has continued to benefit from.

In his response, the Managing Director in charge of Asia/Pacific congratulated the Foreign Minister and extended his profound gratitude to the leadership of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai for his vigilant stand in supporting EU foreign policy, particularly as it relates to new and emerging global issues within the Pacific region and beyond.

Gunnar also praised the Minister for his strong recognition of gender in including one of his female senior officials and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Executive Officer, Viran Brown to be part of his delegation to these very important deliberations.

According to the EEAS Director, this is the first time that he had seen a Vanuatu Minister include a female officer on his team in the important deliberations and negotiations for Vanuatu with the EU. He encouraged the Minister to continue to promote gender equality and ensure women as Viran Brown find their niche to enter Parliament one day.

In addition, Gunnar confirmed EU’s commitment towards the Vanuatu Government’s country strategy programme and in particular the support in the National Indicative Programme (NIP) of Vanuatu including specific financial assistance for the development of rural sector, which is currently one of Prime Minister Salwai’s priorities on his Government’s 100 day priority list.

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