Press Statement - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 9 March 2009 establishing a framework to foster deeper cooperation to encourage conditions for sustainable growth and facilitate greater economic integration in the Pacific.

The joint arrangement was signed during the first ever high level consultation meeting between ADB and PIFS at ADB headquarters in Manila this week. The MOU identifies how the development partners will collaborate to help Pacific countries achieve broad-based economic growth, social development and good governance. It also encourages the exchange of information, knowledge and experience of best practices.

"At a time when the region faces significant economic challenges, both from within and due to external factors, this MOU reinforces past cooperation between the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and ADB and provides new scope for greater collaboration into the future. Enhancing this relationship will be important in facilitating better conditions for sustainable economic growth in the island economies of the Pacific," says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

"The arrangement also aims to help our member countries capture the benefits of regional cooperation," says S.Hafeez Rahman, Director General of ADB's Pacific Department. "ADB's unique role as a regional development bank and knowledge centre combined with Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat's central and esteemed role in the Pacific will strengthen our shared strategic partnership priorities."

The MOU will support the implementation of the Pacific Plan and annual Forum Economic Ministers' Meeting-related initiatives and facilitate future collaborative studies and joint economic analyses by ADB and PIFS.