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European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, and New Zealand Foreign Minister, Hon Murray McCully, have opened today the 2016 Pacific Energy Conference. The Pacific Energy Conference is a follow up to the Pacific Energy Summit in 2013, which was also co-hosted by New Zealand and the EU. The Summit resulted in funding commitments of $635 million for energy projects in 13 Pacific countries.
Since 2013, New Zealand and the EU have had a partnership that has delivered renewable energy projects in Tuvalu, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Kiribati. At the conference, this partnership expanded to include Niue, Tonga, and the Northern Pacific.
During his opening address to this year's Conference, Commissioner Mimica has announced EUR 20 million to support sustainable energy and agriculture projects in the Pacific.
He also announced that the EU will make available a further amount of EUR 14.5 million to support Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste to recover from the severe impacts of El Niño. EUR 5 million will be located to Fiji, while PNG and Timor Leste will receive EUR 3 million and EUR 2 million respectively. EUR 4.5 million is made available for Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.
Commissioner Mimica said the EU jointly with the Pacific have been at the forefront of international efforts to conclude the Paris agreement (international agreement on climate change) and will continue to support its implementation to reduce emissions and build resilience in developing countries, with a special focus on Small Islands Developing States. From 2014-2020, the EU will spend at least EUR 14 billion, an average of 2 billion per year to support activities in developing countries.