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PM Brown receives financial support from PNG and China on behalf of Smaller Island States

Tuesday 7 November 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in 52nd Pacific Islands Forum 2023, National


PM Brown receives financial support from PNG and China on behalf of Smaller Island States
Mark Brown after the Smaller Island State (SIS) Leaders meeting on Monday. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23110666

Prime Minister Mark Brown, the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIFS), yesterday announced financial contributions from the governments of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and China to support the priorities of the Smaller Island States.

John Rosso, Deputy Prime Minister of PNG, met with Brown and handed over a cheque for $5 million kina (NZ$2.26m).

“With its large landmass and population, our brethren from the west are well placed to be an economic hub for our region to capture greater benefits from the processing of the Pacific’s vast sea resources,” Brown said.

“Honouring the commitment made when Dame Meg Taylor became Secretary General of PIFS in 2014, I was also grateful to receive from DPM Rosso a cheque honouring their commitment to support the Smaller Islands States office in the amount of $5 million kina.”
Brown also welcomed the financial contributions that have been made for a number of years from the Republic of China, which some of the member countries have diplomatic relations with.

“This is a demonstration of the commitment from our larger forum members and continuing to recognise the special circumstances of the small island group,” Brown said. “And we extend our sincere appreciation to Prime Minister Marape of PNG and the government and people of PNG for their contribution to the Smaller Island States’ Development Fund.”

The amount contributed by China was not revealed.

Brown, who chaired the SIS Leaders Meeting yesterday, said the member countries have also shown their support for the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and addressed their priorities within its implementation plan.

He said they had a “fantastic meeting” where all leaders were present and they demonstrated the importance of the group reaffirming their role, in particular the strategic importance of Smaller Island States, within the Forum family.

“We’ve agreed to undertake a review of Small Island States within our form of architecture,” Brown said. “This decision is significant for us. We must be able to identify the pathways for our group with small island states to be able to influence not just within our region, but also to be able to have our voice amplified on the international stage as well.”

Brown said that they looked forward to top international agencies recognising the special identity of small island states and their development partners mobilising resources to support some of the areas that challenged them.

“And when I say small island states, these are not small in terms of the size of the islands. These are small in terms of population, in terms of GDP.

“Some of these small island states are actually very large oceanic nations, but those size constraints have the impact of making it much more difficult for small economy countries to be able to get the investment needed for capital infrastructure investment to be able to obtain the financing in terms of debt levels because of their small economies.

“These are unique challenges,” Brown said.