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SAMOA, July 21 - Apia/Suva -21 July 2020; The United Nations and New Zealand have agreed to a new partnership that promises to improve the health, lives and livelihoods of thousands of people across the Pacific, including in Samoa.

New Zealand has agreed to commit initial funding of NZ$24.7 million ($42.9 million SAT) for the NZ UN Pacific Partnership (UNPP), which will support UN-led activities in Samoa and 13 other Pacific Island countries. Over the next two and a half years, the money will be used to lift basic services, improve governance and enhance gender equality in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The new partnership will help Pacific governments to deliver more child vaccines, improve nutrition, provide quality early childhood education, make sexual and reproductive health services available to more women, and ensure that more births are registered.

New Zealand’s contribution will also focus on improving workplace safety and income for women market vendors. It will also support the strengthening of anti-corruption legislation and policies, and help provide more reliable data that will inform decision-making.

As well as Samoa, the new agreement will see assistance going to the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

“New Zealand sees value in the role played by the UN in the region and wants to support it to deliver inclusive development for the Pacific,” said H.E. Mr. Jonathan Curr, New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, at the official launch of the partnership today. “Nearly half of the partnership’s activities this year will also directly support the Pacific’s COVID-19 response.”

“New Zealand and UN agencies want to ensure every dollar spent through the UNPP is going towards a better life for a woman, child or family in the Pacific.”

UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women – four of the UN’s 26 agencies in the Pacific – will work together to deliver the co-owned programme.

“This is a new approach to New Zealand’s long-standing partnership with the UN to support the development ambitions of countries in the Pacific,” said Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator for ten countries in the Pacific.

“The initiative engages the combined assets of the UN system in a coordinated and coherent manner to make a difference in the lives of people who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable. Working efficiently and effectively together to ensure countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is at the heart of the UN’s reform agenda. It is even more urgent now as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the development gains already made in the region.”

“Pacific nations in general have enjoyed success in protecting their populations from the worst of COVID-19,” said Simona Marinescu, UN Resident Coordinator for four countries in the Pacific. “But the pandemic and the measles crisis it before show just how important it is for communities to be resilient to shocks. This resilience is not achieved by reacting when emergencies happen – but through long-term and consistent development approaches, which will be supported by the NZ-UN Pacific Partnership.”

The UN has had a presence in Samoa since the country achieved independence in 1962. Today it works to help national governments achieve development and humanitarian targets, including the Sustainable Development Goals. There are currently 11 United Nations organizations based in Apia that serve the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau. These include: • The Food and Agriculture Organization • The International Labour Organization • The UN Capital Development Fund • The UN Development Programme • The UN Environment Programme • UNESCO • UNICEF • The UN Population Fund • UN Women • The World Health Organization • The World Meteorological Organization

The UN Country Team is coordinated by the Office of the Resident Coordinator.

July 23, 2020
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