Regional initiatives

As well as activities delivered directly in Pacific countries, we support development cooperation initiatives throughout the Pacific region through our regional ODA programme.

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Our regional ODA programme invests in activities that focus on:

  • Progressing regional objectives and enhancing the Pacific’s international influence;
  • Improving inclusive well-being, including through broad-based prosperity, sustainability and regional stability. 

We fund regional organisations and platforms to deliver development cooperation programmes across the Pacific, and to maintain a strong regional architecture for Pacific countries to discuss and coordinate responses to priority challenges facing the region.

Key regional priorities include fisheries and oceans, climate change and the environment, broad-based economic resilience, labour mobility and trade architecture (including PACER Plus), good governance, regional security and stability, human rights and inclusive development. You can find out more about these priorities below.

Renewable energy

Providing access to renewable energy

The Pacific Energy Conference was held in Auckland in June 2016.

The conference successfully generated additional support for energy initiatives in the Pacific.  International donors committed $1 billion in investments.  Private sector investment and access to climate finance will further increase investment. 

Co-hosted by the New Zealand Government and the European Union, the conference focused on investment opportunities to increase renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access for Pacific island countries. It was attended by leaders and representatives from across the Pacific, partner countries, the private sector and development organisations.

The conference built on the success of the Pacific Energy Summit in 2013, which kick-started wide-scale international investment in energy in the Pacific, and has resulted in over $900 million of energy projects being developed across the region.

All up, it means more than $2 billion investment in increasing access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy in the Pacific between 2013 and 2024. 

An image of a man throwing a fishing net into the sea.
Coastal fishing in the Pacific. Photo: Pedram Pirnia


Supporting sustainable fisheries

Fisheries are vital to the economies of Pacific island countries. While there’s been an improvement in the economic returns on tuna fisheries in recent years, management challenges, overfishing and illegal fishing continue.

New Zealand works with Pacific island countries and regional organisations to help ensure these island nations get the economic return they’re entitled to and are able to protect the sustainability of these resources for future generations.

Improving aviation safety

Regional aviation safety is vital to the economies of Pacific island countries for tourism and trade.

MFAT, in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAANZ) and the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO), are providing support to Pacific island countries to improve aviation safety and security. This support is to the ten signatories to the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty (PICASST), which includes Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, and Kiribati. Most Pacific countries have adopted New Zealand civil aviation rules and statutes.

MFAT is funding new aviation security equipment for nine of the PICASST signatories (excluding Papua New Guinea) announced as an NZ$11.5 million package at last year’s Pacific Islands Forum. The first machines are set to be installed in 2019. In total MFAT will provide funding of NZ$14.7 million over the next four years for safety, regulatory and security support.

MFAT has contracted Airways International through the Pacific Aviation Charting and Procedures activity to update Global Navigation Satellite System approaches at thirty-seven regional airfields across eight Pacific countries, with funding of $2.7m over the four years to 2018/19.

MFAT is also providing core funding support to PASO, an intergovernmental civil aviation agency that provides specialised aviation technical advisory services and regulatory oversight mentoring to the signatories of the PICASST.

Improving maritime safety

We're investing $9.5 million in the Pacific Maritime Safety Programme. The programme is delivered in partnership with Maritime New Zealand and provides safety initiatives in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Initiatives include:

  • raising awareness of, and engagement in, maritime safety amongst the community, institutions and government
  • supporting maritime sector regulatory agencies to meet their obligations 
  • meeting local training needs 
  • improving vessel seaworthiness
  • developing plans for Search and Rescue and Marine to use in the event of oil spill pollution, and providing equipment and training.

A Pacific Regional Navigation Initiative (PRNI), with $7.2m over 5 years, is focusing on improving the quality of hydrographic charts in the Pacific and in particular in the countries for which New Zealand is the Primary Charting Authority (Tonga, Tokelau, Niue, Samoa and the Cook Islands). The PRNI is a partnership with Land Information New Zealand and the Pacific Community (SPC). Nautical charts are being updated and converted to Electronic Navigation Charts following hydrographic surveys. These new charts will permit compliance with international maritime regulations and provide for safer maritime transport. PRNI is also delivering capacity building and training to Pacific island officials in safety of navigation and Maritime Safety Information reporting to mariners and charting authorities.

An image of a healthcare worker executing a glucose test on a man. .
Glucose testing, Solomon Islands


Preventing and contolling non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory disease. These diseases are responsible for approximately 75% of deaths in the Pacific. They end lives prematurely, severely affect the quality of life for many more and impose large yet preventable costs on country budgets that are already stretched.

We prioritise investments in evidence based preventive and primary care approaches that benefit the entire population. We also support access to tertiary care in select cases where prognosis is good and facilities are unavailable in country. 

Our support looks to:

  • Strengthen policy and legislation to address risk factors and environmental causes for chronic diseases
  • Support non-discriminatory excise taxation on tobacco, smoke-free indoor workplaces and public spaces, health information and warnings on tobacco use
  • Support access to essential medicines for ongoing management of chronic diseases
  • Provide screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions to prevent cervical cancer
    Support health promotion and messaging for healthy lifestyles, including diet and physical activity
  • Support key interventions for preventing and treating diabetes
  • Build and supplement medical, surgical, nursing, laboratory and pharmacist workforce capacity where needed

Promoting sexual and reproductive health

Unplanned and unsafe pregnancy in adolescent girls increases the risk of death for both the woman and the child. These types of pregnancies also prevent girls from attending school and fully participating in the workforce. Good access to contraception has been shown to prevent around 30% of maternal deaths, and reduce child mortality by 20%. Our support for family planning and sexual health aims to improve health outcomes, encourage gender equality, improve educational levels and strengthen economies. 

Our support looks to:

  • Strengthen policy dialogue and legislation for better sexual and reproductive health
  • Support access to modern contraceptive methods
  • Support availability of comprehensive sexuality education for young people
  • Support availability of confidential testing for STIs
  • Prioritise critical and cost-effective maternal health interventions
  • Support management of post-partum haemorrhage and sepsis
  • Enable access to emergency obstetric care

Improving child health and nutrition

Early-stage health investments enable children to have the best chances at survival and the best start in life. It also offers the best economic and social returns and lower healthcare costs in the long term. 

Our support looks to:

  • Enable immunisation coverage against a range of vaccine preventable childhood illnesses
  • Enable introduction of new vaccines to protect against childhood illnesses like pneumonia, rotavirus and meningitis.
  • Provide critical interventions for addressing stunting in children under 5 (management of parasitic infections, infection control, cord care etc)
  • Provide early interventions to address risks for childhood obesity.

Preventing and controlling communicable diseases

Communicable diseases pose a health burden in the Pacific, and a risk for outbreaks in New Zealand. By reducing or eliminating transmission in our partner countries, the risk to the entire region is lessened.

Our support looks to:

  • Enable immunisation against key communicable diseases
  • Strengthen early detection and management of disease outbreaks through surveillance, risk assessment and response, laboratory strengthening, infection prevention and control and risk communication
  • Strengthen vector control interventions
  • Strengthen transnational and regional efforts to address spread of communicable diseases.


Trilateral Support for Education Quality and Assessment in the Pacific

Pacific island governments have made significant progress in improving access and participation for their students. Their focus is now on improving the quality of education provision so that young people are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in life and work.

The Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) at the Pacific Community (SPC) is a valued and respected partner working across the Pacific region to raise the quality of education. As the key technical agency in the region for education, EQAP supports the development of assessment practice, curriculum and teacher standards, and the effective use of data across the Pacific.

We are working with Australia to jointly provide broad-based support for EQAP and their work. This is envisaged as a ten year partnership and we have committed NZD$5m in base funding for the first three years.

We have previously worked with EQAP to deliver successful projects but this new approach provides greater flexibility, better donor alignment and a more sustainable way of delivering services. EQAP is able to engage in longer-term planning to support Pacific Islands, as well as to deliver significant regional initiatives like the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment

E-learning for Science in Pacific Schools

Governments across the Pacific have committed to improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Effective science education programmes will strengthen countries’ abilities to innovate and address the range of economic, social and cultural issues that they face.

Few schools in the Pacific have the specialist teachers or science equipment needed to operate a science programme which engages the learners through acting as scientists. To address this, MFAT is working with four Pacific countries to develop a programme that will allow non-specialist teachers to deliver the science curriculum at year 10 through interactive e-learning resources.

We are designing support for resource development, teacher training, IT infrastructure and capacity building to introduce these new teaching and learning approaches. The work is supported by a regional reference group made up of science curriculum, IT and teacher training experts from across the participating countries.

We expect to begin implementation in early 2019, with the longer term intention of scaling up to other year levels, subjects and countries.

Good governance

Strengthening Pacific judiciaries

An accessible, impartial and effective law and justice system is vital to an open and fair society. We support a multi-country initiative to strengthen the professional competence of Pacific judges and court officers, and the efficiency of Pacific court systems. This will help to reduce delays in cases being heard, and improve access to justice and judicial independence in the Pacific.

Supporting accountable decision making

New Zealand is working with five Pacific parliaments to provide training and support to MPs and parliamentary secretariats to make the parliamentary process more accountable, inclusive, and effective. Focus areas include strengthening public accounts committees; providing support with the budget process; and reforming parliamentary standing orders to make them more efficient.

Supporting the Pacific to tackle money laundering

Adequate compliance with global anti-money laundering standards can have a significant impact on a country’s economic outlook. We’re supporting the Pacific to improve compliance with, and implementation of, anti-money laundering regulations, to protect and promote confidence in Pacific island economies, particularly in areas such as trade and banking.

An info-graphic showing total monetary aid for pacific regions.


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