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New projects to strengthen food security, access to clean drinking water & provide renewable energy access for Pacific people

25/08/2020 - 03:53
News stories

The European Union (EU) and the Pacific Community (SPC) have today launched three new projects that will help address the social and economic impacts of COVID19, whilst supporting longer-term economic recovery and health benefits for the Pacific region.

New projects to strengthen food security, access to clean drinking water & provide renewable energy access for Pacific people

(In the photo above from left to right: FSM Charge d’ Affaires, Mr Wilson Waguk, Kiribati High Commissioner to Republic of Fiji, H.E. Mr Daid A. Teaabo, Ambassador of  the European Union to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E. Sujiro Seam, Pacific Community (SPC), Deputy-Director General, Dr Audrey Aumua, France Deputy Head of Mission Jean-Louis Roth.)

The EUR 1.5 million Pacific Regional Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Initiative to COVID-19 (PRISCO19) will provide immediate support for food and nutritional security across 12 Pacific Island countries, while the Safe and Sustainable Drinking Water for Kiritimati Island (EUR 6.2 million) will improve access to clean and safe drinking water in the Republic of Kiribati and the Sustainable Energy and Accompanying Measures (SEAM) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (SEAM – REEE) (EUR 11.6 million)  will improve access to sustainable energy security for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Today’s announcement outlines the significant partnership and commitment between the EU, Pacific countries and SPC to deliver genuine, meaningful and impactful development solutions for the lives and livelihoods of Pacific people.

The EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said, ‘‘The projects launched today send 4 important messages for the Pacific. First, the EU is present in the whole region, from the North to the South Pacific. Second, ‘Team Europe’ response to COVID-19 addresses the socio-economic impact of the crisis, with this focus on food and nutrition security. Third, it also deals with the health impact of the crisis, with an emphasis on water, sanitation and hygiene in Kiribati. Fourth, despite the COVID-19 crisis, the EU continues to pursue the European Green Deal as its top priority, as the project on sustainable energy in FSM shows.”

Senior government officials from the Republic of Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia who were present during today’s grant signing ceremony welcomed the partnerships noting the significant contribution this work will have for their countries and communities.

(In the photo above from left to right: Kiribati High Commissioner to Republic of Fiji, H.E. Mr Daid A. Teaabo, Ambassador of  the European Union to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E. Sujiro Seam, Pacific Community (SPC), Deputy-Director General, Dr Audrey Aumua, France Deputy Head of Mission Jean-Louis Roth.)

Kiribati High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E. David Teaabo said, “It is a great achievement that our country is still COVID free, however we remain to be diligent in how we prepare and respond to COVID-19 should it ever reaches our shores. Food security and access to clean, safe drinking water are both critical in responding to the impact and risk of COVID-19 whilst also being instrumental development actions for our people into the future.  The outcomes of this work will support some of our most remote communities and we commend both the EU and SPC for their partnership commitment to support the people of Kiribati.”

Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia Chargé d’Affaires, Mr Wilson Waguk today signed EUR 11.6 million agreement that will significantly reduce FSM’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation across the country and support the transition to renewable power options into the future. He said the commitment to increasing access to energy for its four states including boosting private investment in the sector is a significant step for the FSM.

(In the photo above from left to right: FSM Charge d’ Affaires, Mr Wilson Waguk, Ambassador of  the European Union to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E. Sujiro Seam, Pacific Community (SPC), Deputy-Director General, Dr Audrey Aumua, France Deputy Head of Mission Jean-Louis Roth.)

“This work will boost access to electricity and reduce the reliance we have to fossil fuels and generators for power supply. Currently 42% of our total emissions in FSM comes from the generation of electricity. This project will contribute to the implementation of the FSM Energy Master Plan which holistically with other national projects and interventions will reduce the emission from the electricity sector to 21,000 tonnes per annum. This is about 65% below the electricity sector’s total emissions in 2000," said Waguk.

SPC’s Deputy-Director General Dr Audrey Aumua commended the European Union’s commitment to the Pacific during the unprecedented global crisis and outlined the significant outcomes that can be achieved through Pacific-owned and Pacific-led partnerships such as these.

“Today further deepens our strong partnership with the European Union and shows its commitment to the people of the Pacific, even as we face the challenges posed by the devastating impacts of COVID-19. This ongoing and deepening partnership is heart-warming and in the true spirit of Pacific resilience.  Its outcomes will help change the lives and livelihoods of many Pacific people whilst supporting longer-term economic recovery and growth for our Members as we continue to realise the full impact COVID-19 will bare on our countries, economies and communities. Thank you for your true partnership and meaningful commitment to effective and immediate development actions,” she said.

Today’s launch and partnership signings will allow the projects to move into implementation which will be delivered by SPC in partnership with Pacific Island countries and the EU.  SPC’s strong Pacific-led team is ensuring immediate delivery of critical work is still possible despite travel restrictions  currently in place globally and across the Pacific Region.

Media contact

Lisa Kingsberry, Team Leader Communications and IKM (GEM Division) Pacific Community SPC | lisak@spc.int | +6799252849

Nazeem Kasim, Press and information Officer, European Union EU | Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu | +679 3313-633

Project Background

  1. Project Background: Pacific Regional Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Initiative to COVID-19 (PRISCO19) will strengthen crop and livestock systems that provide a lifeline to communities throughout the region. The initiative will focus on a number of actions that reinforce livelihoods and help put food on the table for Pacific families, including seed and seedling distribution, backyard gardening, distribution of planting material, small livestock support, biosecurity surveillance and promotion of local foods. PRISCO19 will be implemented in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. More information here.

  2. The Sustainable Energy and Accompanying Measures (SEAM) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (SEAM – REEE) (EUR 11.6 million)  will be implemented in the Federated States of Micronesia and will improve access to renewable electricity and support private sector investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy supply across the four states of FSM. Electricity generation currently results in 42% of FSMs total carbon emissions. This project will help reduce both the cost and carbon impact from electricity generation .  FSM  currently spends around USD 50 million on fuel import with most used to supply electricity and transport across the country – this project will reduce the countries reliance on fossil fuels, improve environmental impact of electricity generation and most importantly, provide access to power for communities in the lagoon islands in Chuuk.  More information here.

  3. The Safe and Sustainable Drinking Water for Kiritimati Island (EUR 6.2 million) aimed at improving access to safe, sustainable and clean drinking water for the people of Kiritimati (the world’s largest coral atoll island). The project will also support Kiribati in building a greater socio-economic and climate resilience, and the specific objective to improve public sector services with a focus on water, sanitation and hygiene in Kiritimati Island. Kiritimati, the largest coral atoll in the world, is home to at approximately 7,000 people and access to drinking water is a challenge as the island experiences long periods of low rainfall meaning the community must rely on safe and well-managed fresh groundwater. This project will increase access to  safe, clean and sustainable water while ensuring effective management of the island’s fragile groundwater reserves into the future as a lifeline in times of severe drought conditions. More Information here.