PRESS RELEASE - 27th April 2011 - The Government of Tuvalu welcomes the peer review of development coordination under the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific underway in the capital Funafuti this week.

Peer reviews were mandated by Pacific Forum Leaders in 2009 as part of a package of development coordination initiatives among Forum Island Countries (FICs) and development partners being coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

They intend to review and focus action on 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 making progress towards achieving their national priorities and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"There are development partners and regional organizations approaching us from all angles with development assistance but the problem in Tuvalu is finding the best way to coordinate these funds to maximise the benefits to our people," said Prime Minister, Hon. Willy Telavi, when welcoming the Peer Review Team to Funafuti.

"We need to find appropriate mechanisms that will fast track the utilization of development assistance. I hope that the peer review will make recommendations along these lines," said Prime Minister Telavi.

The same sentiments have been expressed by Mr Minute Taupo, Tuvalu's Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development when he met with the peer review team.

"Since the Compact was endorsed in 2009, Tuvalu has been looking forward to this process to guide our national planning process," Mr Taupo said.

Mr Taupo added: "We want to see how we can align our development plans together with the activities of development partners and learn from our colleagues from other FICs how they have been able to approach these same issues in their countries."

The Government of Tuvalu has chosen representatives of the Governments of Tonga and Vanuatu as FICs in the peer review team and UNESCAP representing development partners. The Team, assisted by staff from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, will meet with representatives of the various government ministries, the private sector and non-government organizations as well as development partners resident in Tuvalu and in Suva, Fiji.

Tuvalu is the fourth FIC to have volunteered to undertake a peer review of their national planning, budgeting and aid management systems. Other countries that have undertaken peer reviews include Kiribati, Nauru and Vanuatu. The fifth country that has volunteered to undertake the peer review is Niue which will be from 30 May to 3 June 2011.