Tuesday 17 July 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia

Earlier today in Port Vila, Vanuatu, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enhance collaborative efforts between the two regional entities, both of which are charged with providing their members with advisory, capacity building and research services.

Under the MOU, the two organisations will forge a partnership to collaboratively address the varied issues faced by their membership. The MOU also formalises a shared commitment by the organisations to seek innovative solutions to these issues.

The agreed areas of partnership under this MOU are the following:
- develop joint programming in areas of mutual interest such as culture and the arts, labour mobility, trade and economic development, and disaster risk management;
- collaborate to provide joint support to members on conservation and sustainable management and development of natural resources;
- facilitate the promotion of sustainable energy;
- support capacity development in economic infrastructure such as transport and information and communications technology;
- strengthen capacities in statistical analysis and interpretation to improve policy formulation for sustainable economic and social development;
- undertake research in areas of common interest to members;
-integrate approaches for more coordinated efforts to achieve objectives at both national and regional levels;
-establish and facilitate forums for staff in both organisations to share, discuss, develop, implement and monitor programmes of mutual interest;
- attend and participate in meetings of each others' governing bodies and/or relevant sectoral meetings; and
- support capacities in trade-related areas such as biosecurity and standards.

SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said, 'SPC welcomes this MOU and is looking forward to sharing information and engaging in dialogue to make progress in areas of interest to our members. SPC works in over 20 sectors, ranging from education, fisheries and health to transport, geosciences, and disaster risk management, and we are excited to work with the MSG Secretariat in some of these areas to advance regional economic and social development.'

He added, 'SPC is very keen to move this partnership forward and we hope to quickly map out and implement joint programming efforts.'

He also noted, 'the MOU provides a platform for the two organisations to consider areas and services where SPC could reduce its direct involvement as the MSG Secretariat builds its capacity to support our mutual members to ensure such services are continued at the regional level.'

MSG Secretariat Director General Peter Forau also welcomed the signing and added, 'this MOU will enable us to work closer with SPC to undertake activities that will support our members, particularly in the areas where we know that SPC has the technical expertise and the information that can assist us in developing appropriate policies and strategies.'

The MOU will cover a period of four years.