Bairiki, Tarawa, 24 April, 2014—Kiribati is set to welcome a high-level joint New Zealand and European Union team arriving to the country this afternoon where development cooperation between the countries will be further strengthened.
The Joint New Zealand (NZ) and European Union (EU) two-day visit to the capital will be headed by NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Honourable Murray McCully and EU Commissioner for Development Mr. Andris Piebalgs and accompanied by their respective delegations.
Arriving this afternoon aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft, the joint visit will also include officials from the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Renewable Energy (IRENA).
The joint NZ/EU visit will further strengthen the development cooperation between the three countries (Kiribati/NZ/EU) through the opening, launching and signing of several NZ/EU projects in the capital but will focus, above all, on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The joint visit came about as a result of the Pacific Energy Summit held in Auckland in March 2013 when Kiribati made a presentation on a renewable energy investment proposal for Kiritimati Island that grabbed the interest of NZ and the EU.
“The joint visit is also a commitment on the part of NZ/EU to invest in this initiative and to support government’s energy policy objective of reaching 40% renewable energy on Kiritimati Island. The visit also demonstrates further donor coordination and harmonization evident through development partners’ collective efforts on the mission through the ADB, WB and IRENA.” A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said.
The highlight of the joint visit is the different bilateral meetings between Kiribati President His Excellency Anote Tong and the NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully and the EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.
The bilateral meetings will be followed by a Signing of Cooperation Agreements between the three countries.
First on the signing list is the NZ/EU/Kiribati Energy Memorandum of Arrangement while bilaterally between Kiribati and NZ only are the Joint Commitment for Development and the Partnership Framework on Housing.
All three projects are necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change in Kiribati.
Also during the joint visit, a new X-Ray Scanning machine for the aviation sector will be presented by NZ; a new Environment Testing Laboratory from the EU will be opened; visiting and touring of the Marine Training Centre; and launching of the EU Barge as part of the EU-funded off-shore dredging project.
The team will also attend the Dawn Service in honour of ANZAC Day tomorrow morning before departing later in the day to visit Kiritimati Island on Saturday, 26 April.