PRESS STATEMENT - Monday 4th, April 2011 - Work is progressing steadily towards disbursing 6.8 billion yen (approx. US$66 million) to the region under the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund.

The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan to support Forum Island Country (FIC) projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and sea water desalination plants, or a combination of both.

Positive progress was reported by the PEC Fund Joint Committee which met last week at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

The Joint Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Secretary General of Forum Secretariat, comprises senior representatives from the Forum Secretariat and Government of Japan, and provides oversight on the implementation of the PEC Fund initiative.

The Forum Secretariat is responsible for managing the PEC Fund via a PEC Fund Project Management Unit.

"I am very pleased to report that the PEC Fund Project Management Unit has progressed significantly in the implementation of the PEC Fund Guidelines and PEC Fund Project Procedures," said the Forum Secretariat Acting Secretary General, Mr Feleti Teo.

"FICs have also responded positively to the call for the preparation and submission of concept notes to access the PEC Fund."

The Forum Secretariat has now received concept notes from 12 of the 14 countries eligible to access the PEC Fund, Mr Teo explained.

"Many of these countries have now progressed to developing their detailed project proposals, and we look forward to announcing the first of the PEC Fund projects soon."

Each FIC has been allocated an indicative amount of US$4 million under the PEC Fund to be spent on projects within two years.

Access to individual country allocations is undertaken in a two phase process. Phase one involves submission of project Concept Notes from FICs to the Forum Secretariat. Once appraised by the PEC Project Management Unit and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), and if the outcome is positive, the FIC is then invited to progress to phase two which involves the development of a detailed project proposal for consideration and final approval by the PEC Fund Joint Committee.