EU funds projects to “put food on people’s plates”

The European Union (EU) and the South Pacific Community (SPC) have launched three separate projects for the Pacific region focussed on cutting dependence on imported fuel and improving access to clean water and sanitation.

Approximately EUR 19 million (US$22.68 million) has been committed by the EU to help SPC facilitate projects ranging from enhancing food security, improving access to clean and safe drinking water, and improving access to the renewable and effective energy. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Suva recently, the Charge d’affaires of the FSM Embassy, Wilson Waquk welcomed the EU’s support of EUR 11.6 million ($13.85 million) towards the Sustainable Energy and Accompanying Measures (SEAM) initiative, underlining that this would help the territory cut spending on fossil fuel imports and create a more ‘viable investment environment’ for private sector companies. 

“In the FSM, its highly dependent on imported petroleum fuels,” Waquk explained. “It annually spends US$50 million on fuel imports, with most (fuel) used for electricity generation.”

Approximately 42% of the FSM’s emissions derive from the electricity generation sector.  Authorities are confident that the implementation of SEAM would not only improve access to renewable and effective energy but would reduce the country’s greenhouse emissions by 21,000 tonnes per annum. 

The High Commissioner of Kiribati, David Teaabo commended the EU and SPC’s continual efforts to improving access to clean water and sanitation on the Kirimati atoll under the Pacific Regional Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Initiative COVID-19 (PRISCO19) project.  Roughly EUR 6.2 million (US$7.4 million) has been allocated to the Kirimati atoll project. 

“While we are still COVID free, implementation of the PRISCO-19 now contributes to building our preparedness response to COVID, should it ever reach our shores,” said Teaabo.

“These projects will put food on people’s plates, it will turn on electricity and support aspirations around renewable energy, and of course enable access to clean drinking water to wider communities of Kirimati,” said Deputy-Director General of SPC, Audrey Aumua.

“Whatever we do in this region, we do in the spirit of partnership,” said the European Ambassador to Fiji, Sujiro Seam. “We are here today in these challenging circumstances and we’ll still be here in the years to come.

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