Press Release - The management of fisheries and mineral resources in the Pacific region will benefit from 22 million Euros that will be injected by the European Union into three projects under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

This follows the signing today in Suva, Fiji, of the first three Financing Agreements under the Regional Indicative Programme for the Pacific, financed through the 10th EDF. The Agreements were signed by H.E Mr Wiepke van der Goot, Head of Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific in Fiji and Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Regional Authorising Officer.

The three projects include:

. Scientific Support for the Management of Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region (SCICOFish)
. Deep Sea Minerals in the Pacific Islands Region: Legal Framework and Resource Management
. Development of sustainable tuna fisheries in Pacific ACP countries phase 2 (DevFish )

A total of 95 million Euros has been committed by the European Commission under the Regional Indicative Programme for the Pacific for 2008 - 2013 to develop new regional projects focusing on strengthening Regional Economic Integration and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Slade thanked the European Union for funding the three projects and its continued support to the Pacific Region in implementing the Pacific Plan and the Forum Leaders determination of the regional development priorities.

Mr Slade congratulated and commended the CROP agencies that put together the three projects.

"The challenge now is for those regional agencies that have been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing these very important regional projects to step up their efforts to ensure that these projects are implemented in an efficient, effective and timely manner where key milestones, outputs and timelines are met."

Mr Slade added: "The ultimate beneficiaries of these regional projects are the people of the Pacific. Their success will ultimately be determined by the difference they make to the lives of the people of the Pacific."

He revealed that the RAO is now working with the EU Delegation on the preparation and submission of the next Annual Action Programme for 2010 which will hopefully commit a further 30 million Euros to implement the Regional Aid for Trade Strategy under focal area one of Regional Economic Integration and two million Euros for the Technical Cooperation Facility.

This means that by the end of this year nearly 60 percent of the total allocation of the 10th EDF for the Pacific Regional allocation would have been committed.

PIFS Secretary General Mr Slade said: "I hope to see at least 10 million Euros committed to the regional efforts towards tackling the priority issues of Climate and its impact on the livelihoods of the people especially those living in the Smaller Island States."