PRESS RELEASE - [Alofi, Niue, 2nd June 2011] The Government of Niue wants the Peer Review being undertaken this week in the country under the Forum Compact for Strengthening Development Coordination to be open, frank and aimed at finding solutions.

Niue is the fifth country in the region to have volunteered to undertake a peer review under the Compact since it was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their meeting in Cairns in 2009.

Niue has invited representatives of the Samoan and Nauruan governments to represent the Forum island countries (FICs) on the team and a representative of AusAid to represent the development partners.

The peer reviews consider the ways that FICs, with support of development partners, use their own money and the aid they receive to ensure better life for their people and make progress towards achieving their national priorities and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Secretary of Government for Niue, Richard Hipa told the peer review team that the Government has volunteered to undertake the peer review as it needs to do a stock take of its planning and budget processes and the coordination of development assistance over the years.

"This is the first time such as review is being undertaken on our processes to see whether there are any gaps and to recommend ways to fill such gaps," said Mr Hipa.

He added: "We expect the peer review to give us a snap shot of our situation and recommendations on what we need to work on but we would like the review to also propose options, action points and timelines which will be useful for implementation of the recommendations."

Mr Hipa emphasised: "The discussions should be frank and we want the peer review to be blunt and give it straight to us with options should we have gaps that we need to fill in the planning, budget and aid coordination processes. We expect some blunt messages on what needs to be done" as the Premier Hon. Toke Talagi always expressed, "Do not only present problems, but provide some solutions" so the anticipation of the review is also to have options and solutions to mitigating identified gaps."

During the one-week of consultations, the Niue peer review team will meet with representatives of the various government departments, the Acting Premier and Cabinet, the private sector, non-government organization representatives and the New Zealand High Commissioner in Niue. New Zealand is Niue's main and only development partner with a resident representative in the country.

The Niue peer review team is expected to present preliminary recommendations to the Government of Niue before it leaves at the end of the week. A peer review report with recommended actions to strengthening development coordination in Niue will be agreed with the government within six weeks of completing the in country visit.