Monday, 25 May 2009 9:31 AM

ADB Regional Strategy Needs to be Consistent with Pacific Plan

Press Statement - Pacific Developing Member Countries (PDMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have called on the ADB to review its Pacific Strategy in line with the Pacific Plan.

These were the sentiments expressed by the regional block at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors held this month in Bali, Indonesia.

"We commend the Bank for working towards a revised Pacific Strategy to better reflect our changing circumstances and unique needs, and to be consistent with the Pacific Plan, which is the blueprint for regional economic growth," said Governor for Papua New Guinea, Honourable Patrick Pruaitch, on behalf of ADB's Pacific Developing Member Countries.

In the framework of the existing Pacific Strategy, Hon. Pruaitch also called on ADB to consider support for relevant economic integration priorities mandated by Forum Leaders and Forum Economic Ministers.

These priorities include bulk fuel procurement, statistics, customs, labour mobility, and economic regulation.

"We would also encourage ongoing consultations with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to further progress of these priority initiatives," added Hon. Pruaitch.

Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, remarked that the Forum Secretariat will indeed continue to serve a conduit for the region's development priorities and will partner with ADB and other development partners on areas of mutual interests.

"Our small island economies are particularly vulnerable at this time, not only because of smallness and isolation, but also because of external factors such as the global economic crisis and rippling effects of climate change that hit at the core of our people's everyday lives," said Mr Slade.

"Our efforts towards improving aid effectiveness, consistent with the Paris Declaration and Pacific Aid Effectiveness Principles, remain critical if partnerships for development are to increase in relevance and impact."

In this context, the PDMC joint statement delivered by Hon. Pruaitch called on the Bank to consider developing support delivery mechanisms which recognise national systems and processes.

"Such an approach will allow for national priorities to receive additional resources and also have an accelerated impact for achieving the desired national outcomes. This will help improve ownership of policy implementation by all national stakeholders."

The ADB's Pacific Developing Member Countries include Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.