PRESS RELEASE - 6th December 2010 - A project management unit (PMU) has been established at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji to manage and monitor the multi-million dollar PALM 5 Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund negotiated by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders with the Government of Japan in 2009.

The PEC Fund is a US$67 million contribution by Japan to support Forum island countries' (FICs) projects in solar power generation and sea water desalination.

"In addition to the Joint Committee established under the PEC Fund Guidelines, the Fund's governance structure has now been fully implemented with the establishment of the Project Management Unit and the Technical Advisory Group," says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The Joint Committee comprising of Pacific Islands Forum and Japanese government representatives provides oversight and makes the necessary decisions with respect to the implementation of the PEC Fund. The PMU established within the Forum Secretariat assists the Secretariat manage, monitor and disburse the Funds as agreed to with the Government of Japan under the Project Procedures approved by the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee have agreed that each FIC be allocated US$4 million under the Fund.

The Pacific Islands Forum recently appointed the PMU team which comprises Mr Jonathan Mitchell as the Project Manager and Mr Leonaitasi Taukafa as the Technical Officer.

A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has also been established in line with the agreement with Japan to assist the Secretariat t provide the technical and evaluative assessment of concept notes and project proposals for the consideration of the Joint Committee.

"I would like to acknowledge those FICs who have submitted concept notes so far for possible funding under the PEC. The appraisal process is currently underway and feedback is being provided to FICs to assist them prepare full and detailed project proposals," said Mr Slade.

"All FIC Governments which have yet to submit concept notes are encouraged to do so. Each FIC has been allocated an indicative amount of US$4 million to be spent on projects within three years. The PMU stands ready to provide whatever assistance FICs require to ensure that each country benefits from the PEC Fund."