New Zealand’s strong commitment to supporting sustainable development in the Pacific was highlighted during a small ceremony this week, which marked the official extension of its partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC).

The new five-year partnership between the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and SPC commits NZ$45 million (NZ$9 million per annum), a significant increase on New Zealand’s current funding for the organization.

The funding will support a wide range of important advice, training, data and services that SPC provides to its 26 Pacific member states and territories. Priorities include fisheries, agriculture and forestry, climate change, energy, disaster management, human rights, empowerment of women and youth, health, education, and statistics.

“New Zealand is committed to working with and through the Pacific regional architecture, and this investment recognises SPC’s critical role in supporting development across the region,” said Jonathan Kings, Deputy Secretary of the Pacific and Development Group at MFAT. “SPC focuses on the sectors and issues that are priorities for the region, and there is strong alignment with New Zealand’s wider support for Pacific development.”

The signing took in SPC’s headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia.

SPC Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, highlighted the significance of the funding, and the long history of support and cooperation between SPC and New Zealand. “This agreement is about more than just funding. Our extended partnership sends a clear message that New Zealand continues to stand with our members in seeking practical, data-driven and Pacific-led solutions to the challenges our region faces.”

New Zealand is a founding member of SPC and a signatory to the Canberra Agreement, which established the organization in 1947.