Dialogue on China-Pacific Islands Countries Development Cooperation

Nov 22, 2016

Promoting understanding and partnership between China and Pacific island countries towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

November 17-18, Beijing -- China has become a major development partner worldwide, providing not only increased financing but also important knowledge, skills and technology that are relevant to other developing countries’ national contexts. The rich development experience and expertise accumulated in China's domestic development over the past six decades can serve as important inputs into the development paths of developing countries, including Pacific island countries.

With a view to strengthen cooperation between China and the Pacific towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as part of UNDP China’s support to China’s South-South cooperation, UNDP China conducted a research series of five reports titled “China’s South-South Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This takes an in-depth look at opportunities for China and other partners to work together and increase the contribution to the SDG implementation in the Pacific. This research series not only looks at the overall China-Pacific engagement towards the SDGs but also specifically focuses on four sectors: health, infrastructure, climate change, and renewable energy, providing analysis and concrete policy recommendations for enhancing cooperation between China and Pacific countries in the context of the SDGs. 

The one and a half-day workshop was organized around the themes of these five reports. It was attended by over thirty participants including: government officials from Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea; Chinese policy banks including China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China; academics from major Chinese think tanks and universities; Pacific country embassies, UNDP officials from Pacific country offices, and major development agencies based in Beijing. With active participation from these key stakeholders, the workshop stimulated heated debate and discussions around China-Pacific cooperation from various perspectives.

UNDP-CH-SSC-2016 Pacific workshop

Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, delivered opening remarks for the workshop. He noted, “China has the capacity to support Pacific countries’ SDG implementation process and has the potential to shape the development prospects of the region. Development partners will also have the opportunity to work with China towards that goal.”

At the workshop, participants discussed issues and exchanged perspectives related to country needs and priorities, financing and capacity gaps, China’s development cooperation for the Pacific and opportunities for enhancing China’s contribution to the SDG implementation in the region. Against the backdrop of Pacific island countries experiencing directly the direct impact of climate change, there is a real opportunity for Pacific countries to lead innovation in mitigating efforts with partners through testing of groundbreaking ideas to realize the SDGs and build resilient nations. In addition, sectors like health, renewable energy, and infrastructure will be foundational building blocks to help build momentum and fuel the progress towards the SDGs. This workshop proved to be a useful platform for deepening the understanding of the challenges and opportunities for cooperation between China, Pacific island countries and other development partners.

South-South and triangular cooperation was suggested one of the means to achieve sustainable development. The key is to increase coordination and effectiveness, and develop projects that truly respond to the needs of partner countries, creating synergies between multiple partners. In addition, it was recommended that partners should identify a capacity-building approach that is integrated into the systems of partner countries where the outcomes align with country priorities. Going forward, participants from both China and Pacific countries expressed the hope that this workshop could be the beginning of a continued dialogue among relevant policy-makers, development practitioners and academics at Beijing level around Pacific countries’ development needs and the role of China, promoting mutual understanding and partnership between China and Pacific island countries towards the SDG implementation.

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