HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 593: 7 December2011

New global partnership with Africa
Promoting mutual accountability: Cooperation between Africa and the Pacific

Statement by the Hon Mark Brown, at the Joint side event of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat & NEPAD of Agency of the African Union

Co-Moderators, Fellow Ministers, Distinguished participants
The Pacific Region, from its simplest tasks to the most complex and challenging, has traditionally used partnerships to progress any issue, we are communal societies. Our cultures and indeed our countries were founded on the premise that together we can achieve much and overcome the vulnerabilities before us. Our traditional systems of governance rely heavily on this notion of partnership which is respected and well understood amongst our people.
The Pacific is a region that is accustomed to inherent threat; be it the threat of disaster which we come to expect every cyclone season; or of rising sea levels against our low lying atolls due to the effects of climate change; the ongoing impacts of the global economic and financial crisis; or the growing killer known as NCDs (or non-communicable diseases which claim far more lives than any cyclone each year). These threats combined with weak or dysfunctional governance institutions and service delivery, create for the Pacific region a plethora of complex development challenges. However these challenges can be far better addressed with the support, the capabilities and shared knowledge of development partners.
Partnerships are thus a necessity and simply put in the context of the Pacific, is everyone working together to address a complex situation that has, for reasons within or beyond their control, have both direct and indirect consequences for everyone.
Effective partnerships must be founded on common goals, objectives, and interests; and on mutual trust and respect. How then do you develop such partnerships with potential partners who may have different objectives, possibly competing interests and very little trust? The answer is that you almost certainly cannot. Partnerships of this nature are like a marriage, once the honeymoon is over, it must be constantly nurtured and fostered and worked at over time – we all know the term for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.
I have been asked to pay particular attention to the issue of the global partnership in promoting mutual accountability. This week in Busan we are being asked to shape a new global partnership for effective development cooperation, keeping at the core of that partnership country ownership and leadership.
The notion of the new global partnership promotes fundamentally country driven development, a focus on results, inclusiveness, and transparency and accountability. These are principles that resonate strongly in Pacific island countries and correspond to principles enshrined in our Pacific Plan for Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Integration, otherwise known as the Pacific Plan.
In harnessing therefore this focus on results, inclusiveness, transparency and mutual accountability, we have before us a potential recipe for a solid platform to launch cooperation between the regions of the Pacific and Africa. But what does this all mean?
I wish to offer mutual accountability, as a fundamental requisite to reconciling the challenges linked to competing interests and objectives and most importantly, to establishing trust very early in a partnership arrangement.
At the heart of mutual accountability is an ongoing commitment to self reflection (assessment) and evaluation, generating evidence and undertaking subsequent reforms drawn from the results of your self reflection (assessment) is a good first step to fostering cooperative partnerships. In other words, from the outset we are open to being transparent to each other and to our constituents about the actions and results from our partnership. Show your partners you mean business by walking the talk.
In addition, it is vital that the partnership is driven by mutual and coherent interests. In other words, from the outset we are clear and realistic about what we can and will do to support each other. Its like marriage vows (you both state up front what each will do) then you say I do! Like all marriages you have your ups and downs. That is what marriage counselors are for. Which brings me to regional bodies (Regional platforms) have a central role to play in facilitating that clarity of purpose and cohesion. The recognition of regional platforms as agents of consensus building between sovereign states for effective development cooperation, commensurate to national and regional conditions is in my mind a solid basis for further cooperation.
May I end with this final point, and while I do not wish to belabor the point of political will and action, it is a crucial one. As a new politician and government Minister - I can say that Partnerships are only as good as the calibre and credibility of the institutions and the people that forge it. I wish to pay particular attention to the institutions of government and parliament in having a critical accountability role to play, in fostering cooperation and mutual accountability between Africa and the Pacific.
We must maintain a political focus on our development cooperation and partnership efforts, in so far, as we engage political leaders to regularly report and dialogue on our development cooperation and partnership efforts through our own regional and international Ministerial and Leaders’ networks.
On that note, I wish to thank our co-Moderators for this opportunity to speak and share some thoughts on the way forward, I do hope that what I’ve shared will go a long way to moving forward the potential in the a partnership between the African continent and the blue continent of the Pacific.
Thank you.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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