Australia has renewed its strategic partnership with SPC, a preeminent Pacific regional science organisation, and will provide $42.5 million for its core funding over the next three years.
Minchin said that SPC’s renewed partnership with Australia was evidence of the strong and reliable long-term support Australia has provided to the organisation.
“Together with Australia’s new funding commitment, it will allow SPC to continue to help the Pacific recover and rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19 by tackling overarching economic, environmental, and health development challenges,” Minchin said.
Formerly known as the South Pacific Commission, SPC is one of the Pacific’s leading scientific and technical development organisations with 26 member states, including 22 Pacific island nations as well as Australia, France, the United States, and New Zealand.
SPC is primarily focused on providing technical and scientific advice in fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, human rights, and the conservation of plant genetics. Additionally, the organisation is regarded as a knowledge bank to its member governments who may be too small to maintain purely national personnel for expertise.
In 2014, Australia and the SPC signed an agreement to become a key financing partner of the organisation and to provide access to a broad range of Australian-based knowledge and expertise until 2023.
According to the agreement, the goal of the partnership is to enhance SPC’s financial management and to pursue regional cooperation in the Pacific.
Australia has become increasingly engaged in the Pacific since 2016 after launching the Pacific Step-up policy. Payne said in 2019 that Australia has long been the Pacific’s largest development partner, security partner, and friend in time of need.
“But our conversations in the Pacific over the past several years have made it clear that we can and should all do more together to rise to the challenge and opportunities of our new Blue Pacific Continent,” said Payne.