The National, Tuesday October 29th, 2013
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
DISCUSSIONS with Japan to see Papua New Guinea advance on development arrangements have provided opportunities for better outcomes, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato says.
Pato was in Japan over the weekend for the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) Foreign Ministerial Review meeting that saw the adoption of the summary of the chairman’s meeting and the Tokyo Declaration on Maritime Secretary’s issues.
These arrangements provide improved outcomes for PNG and other Pacific Island countries that benefit from Japan’s social and economic development programmes under the PALM strategy.
He said yesterday that PNG had to make use of the opportunity to access development through the funds provided by Japan.
He expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the meeting.
“The adoption of the chairman’s summary reflects the true spirit of consultation and consensus of issues of the importance to PALM as well as to Japan and Pacific Island countries,” Pato said.
“This in particular underlines the advantages due to Pacific Island countries in terms of having the access to Japan’s US$500 million (K1.2 billion) committed to PALM 6 and the Pacific Environment Community fund commitment of US$66 million (K161 million) since 2009,” he said.
“Environmental, island and rural water supply use and consumption, disaster management and climate change issues are so critical for our small communities so it is vital that we make sure we have access to these funds in an effective manner.”
Pato said he had talks with Japanese government officials on the signing of exchange of notes on the Madang market rehabilitation project valued at K26 million and a visa facility that was offered by Japan to PNG.