5th July 2012
The 16th Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting (FEMM) concluded yesterday in Tarawa, Kiribati.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Economic Ministers released the Forum Economic Action Plan 2012.
The 16th FEMM focused on key economic issues of importance to the region including the implementation of the Waiheke Declaration, broadening of the economic base, strengthening development policy and coordination, climate change financing and access to finance for economic growth.
Ministers recognised the importance of the Waiheke Declaration adopted by Forum Leaders in 2011 to achieve long-term inclusive sustainable economic development.
“Forum Economic Ministers have reaffirmed their strong commitment to coordinated actions at the national and regional level to achieve sustainable economic development,” said the FEMM Chair, Honourable Tom Murdoch, the Minister for Finance & Economic Development of Kiribati.
Importantly, Ministers agreed to provide regional oversight and leadership in the implementation of the Waiheke Declaration, and have requested the formation of a working group comprising of relevant technical agencies to coordinate work on the implementation of the Waiheke Declaration.
The vital role of women in economic development of member countries was recognised by the Forum Economic Ministers.
“Ministers urged improvement in the enabling environment to increase opportunities for women to participate in the formal labour market and as entrepreneurs,” Honourable Murdoch added.
Forum Economic Ministers reiterated the importance of the Forum Compact in encouraging effective coordination of available development resources to achieve real progress against national development priorities, including the Millennium Development Goals.
Ministers also welcomed the significant progress that has been made in implementing recommendations of the regional Public Finance Management roadmap.
“Given that sound and disciplined Public Finance Management is fundamental to the effective and efficient delivery of all public services, a whole-of-government approach to implementing Public Finance Management reform is needed,” Honourable Murdoch said.
Adaptation finance is critical and urgent to enable Forum Island Countries to respond to the adaptation needs of their people. In this context, Ministers reiterated the need for strengthened national systems to plan for, access, deliver, absorb and monitor climate change financing fund facilities.
Ministers noted that the key characteristics of success of State Owned Enterprises include the existence of robust legal and regulatory frameworks, strong governance arrangements and the drive to engage in competition through commercialisation principles ensuring improved efficiency and accountability.
“In recognising the important role of the private sector in growth and development of Pacific economies, Ministers have agreed to support policies that lead to strong private sector development,” Honourable Murdoch said.
Given the increasing digital divide in Forum Island Countries, Ministers agreed that further liberalisation should encourage greater levels of infrastructure investment which is required in the Information and Communications Technology sectors to ensure that these services are accessible, affordable and at an appropriate standard.
Ministers thanked the development partners for their continued support and coordinated efforts at the national and regional level, in addressing current and future challenges facing the Forum Island Countries.