Busan, Republic of Korea, 1st December 2011 -The Cook Islands Finance Minister, Hon. Mark Brown says developing partnerships are a necessity in the Pacific as countries in the region face new challenges and engage with new development actors, in their development aspirations.

Hon. Brown was speaking during a Side Event organised jointly by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the African Union agency, NEPAD, at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Hon. Brown, who was addressing the issue of Global partnership in promoting mutual accountability: Cooperation between Africa and the Pacific, said: "Partnerships must be founded on common goals, objectives, and interests; on mutuality, trust and respect. But where there are at times competing partner interests, he argued that mutual accountability, is a fundamental requisite to reconciling the challenges linked to competing interests and objectives and most importantly, to establishing trust very early in a partnership arrangement."

He added: "At the heart of mutual accountability is an ongoing commitment to self reflection and evaluation, generating evidence and undertaking subsequent reform drawn from the results of your self reflection is a good first step to fostering cooperative partnerships. In other words, from the outset we are open to being transparent to each other and to our constituents about the actions and results from our partnership."

Hon. Brown said the notion of the new global partnership for effective development cooperation, which was being discussed at the HLF4 promotes fundamentally country driven development, a focus on results, inclusiveness, and transparency and accountability.

"These are principles that resonate strongly in Pacific island countries and correspond to principles enshrined in our Pacific Plan for Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Integration, otherwise known as the Pacific Plan," Hon. Brown said.

"In harnessing therefore this focus on results, inclusiveness, transparency and mutual accountability, we have before us a potential recipe for a solid platform to launch cooperation between the regions of the Pacific and Africa. But what does this all mean."

Minister Brown also spoke of the importance of political will and action to building partnerships.

"Partnerships are only as good as the calibre and credibility of the institutions and people that forge it. I wish to pay particular attention to the institutions of government and parliament in having a critical accountability role to play, in fostering cooperation and mutual accountability between Africa and the Pacific.

"We must maintain a political focus on our development cooperation and partnership efforts, in so far, as we engage political leaders to regularly report and dialogue on our development cooperation and partnership efforts through our own regional and international Ministerial and Leaders' networks," the Cook Islands Minister of Finance," Hon Brown said.

At the end of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and NEPAD Side Event a joint statement was issued highlighting the importance of partnerships and regional platforms to promote and operationalise the adopted Busan Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation.