NZ and Australian Ministers attend SPC biennial Conference in New Caledonia

Aupito William Sio Photo: parliament/RNZ

WELLINGTON/CANBERRA, 21 JUNE 2019 (NZ GOVT/DFAT) — New Zealand Pacific Peoples Minister and Australian foreign minister are in New Caledonia to attend Pacific Community’s (SPC) biennial Conference

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will represent New Zealand at the Pacific Community’s (SPC) biennial Conference in Noumea, along with Ministers and representatives from other SPC member countries.

“As the oldest and largest Pacific regional organisation, SPC has a critical role in providing scientific and technical services to its Pacific country members,” Aupito William Sio says.

“SPC’s important work strengthens the ability of Pacific countries and territories to sustainably manage their natural resources, respond to climate change and disasters, improve education quality, promote human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity and opportunities for young people, respond to non-communicable diseases, and access and use development statistics.

“The biennial SPC Conference is a key part of SPC’s governance structure as a member-owned and driven organisation.

“This year it will select the next Director-General of SPC and discuss the importance of a science-based approach to management and governance of the Pacific Ocean,” Aupito William Sio says.

New Zealand has been a member and donor of SPC since its establishment in 1947.

Meanwhile, Australian foreign Minister Marise Payne is in New Caledonia to represent Australia at the 11th biennial Ministerial Conference of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea and to meet New Caledonian representatives and French authorities.

Australia is a founding member and the largest donor to the SPC, the largest scientific and technical agency in the Pacific.

It delivers essential services to countries across the region, in fields such as education, agriculture, health, and fisheries science.

SPC is a valued partner for Australia in delivering programs that support strong regional outcomes.

“My visit to Noumea, the first by an Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2004, follows my visit as Minister for Defence in May 2018 and will strengthen ties with New Caledonia, and with France in the Pacific.

“New Caledonia is now a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum, and Australia supports its deeper integration in the region.

“Australia values highly its close relationship with France in the Pacific and beyond, and its significant contribution to regional security and prosperity.

“I also look forward to the opportunity to acknowledge outgoing Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga for his outstanding six years of service,” said Payne.

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