Joint EU-New Zealand Mission In Vanuatu, Assistance Package Agreed To

Tripartite agreement brings support up to 7% of budget

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 3, 2016) – Extensive devastation to the agriculture sector by Cyclone Pam one year ago, has qualified Vanuatu as the first country in the Pacific Region to benefit from a Joint European Union/New Zealand budget support formalised by a tripartite declaration in Port Vila yesterday, covering agriculture and climate change adaptation in addition to energy.

European Commissioner for Development and International Cooperation, Neven Mimica, announced a payment of EUR 10.5 million (VUV 1.3 billion) [US$11.6 million] under EU’s budget support programme. This single payment represents about 7% of the country’s 2016 national budget and will help sustain vital recovery efforts as well as development expenditure of the Government.

The European Commissioner also announced additional support of EUR 10 million (VUV 1.2 billion) to agriculture, a 40% increase to existing resources to a total of EUR 35 million (VUV 4.3 billion). This sector, which was particularly hard hit by Cyclone Pam, will now benefit from coordinated support by EU and New Zealand.

The European Commissioner is EU’s most senior delegate to visit Vanuatu in a joint mission with New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Murray McCully, and Minister of Climate Change Issues, Paula Bennett.

During their visit, the European Commissioner spoke with Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, addressed the Council of Ministers, and visited agriculture projects in Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the country.

He expressed his appreciation for the resilience and courage of the Ni-Vanuatu people in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam, which devastated the country in March 2015.

“I can only admire the resilience of the Ni-Vanuatu people following Cyclone Pam. I am delighted to confirm that the EU is behind Vanuatu’s efforts to build back better. It is not only about providing additional financial support, but also demonstrating that we remain a strong and stable partner in the fight against climate-related disasters”, said Commissioner Mimica.

In order to get some practical insight into the country’s needs and opportunities in the sector, the high-level Delegation accompanied by Minister for Agriculture Matai Seremaiah also visited the Vanuatu Agricultural Research and Technical Centre in Santo.

They witnessed important research on climate change adaptation in agriculture, supported by the EU and New Zealand.

Finally, the Delegation also visited Nanda Blue Hole and met with local producers and entrepreneurs, highlighting the potential links between agriculture and tourism before departing to continue on its joint mission to Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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