Noumea, New Caledonia – The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has signed two agreements with the Government of Australia to support on-going human rights work and better manage non-communicable diseases in the region.
A three-year funding grant will help build the skills of Pacific governments and civil society organisations to better observe human rights and respond to violations through the Regional Rights Resource Team. The non-communicable diseases program delivered by SPC has also been extended by one year to June 2013 to improve the health of Pacific islanders. SPC’s Director-General, Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, signed both agreements today.
[ Dr Jimmie Rodgers and Mr John Davidson, following the signing of the grant agreements on the morning of 6 June 2012, in Suva, Fiji]
The funding agreement for the SPC Regional Rights Resource Team will support human rights training for Pacific government ministries and departments, members of parliament, magistrates, lawyers, law enforcement, community service providers, civil society organisations and law students. The major areas of focus will include addressing gender discrimination and violence against women through legislative reform; increasing access to justice and the rule of law; building civil society skills; supporting vulnerable populations, such as disabled persons; and assisting states to report on and implement international conventions on human rights.
Pacific Framework for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The Australian and New Zealand Governments co-fund the four-year Pacific Regional Non-Communicable Disease Program, jointly implemented by the World Health Organization and SPC. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are on the rise and are a major health issue across the region.
At the Pacific Islands Forum held last year in Auckland, Forum Leaders declared that ‘the Pacific is in an NCD crisis’. This one-year, no-cost program extension will enable SPC to manage remaining country grants to strengthen the Pacific’s non-communicable diseases prevention and control efforts. SPC will also support whole-of-government approaches to tackling non-communicable diseases at a regional level.
Dr. Rodgers acknowledged the continued support from the Government of Australia for a regional approach to addressing these important priorities for Pacific Island countries and territories.
“The funding will ensure SPC can deliver results in enhancing human rights and NCD control at the national level,” Dr. Rodgers said.
“On SPC’s part, a ‘whole of organisation’, multi-sectoral approach to NCDs is essential because up to 70 per cent of the causes of these diseases and therefore the solutions are outside the health sector.”
“On the part of individual countries and territories, ‘whole of government’, ‘whole of society’ engagement in tackling NCDs holds the key to solving the crisis.”
For more information about the AusAID SPC grant agreements and support for SPC programmes, please contact Alisi Tuqa, Planning Officer (email AlisiT@spc.int) and Maggie Boyle, Regional Communications Manager, AusAID, Australian High Commission, Fiji (email Maggie.Boyle@ausaid.gov.au).