New Cledonia – If any country understands the importance of SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) to the Pacific region it is the Marshall Islands.
Most of the country’s 60,000 people live on its two main islands of Marjuro and Ebeye with the remainder primarily living on 5 outer-atolls.
It continues to be faced with droughts, energy and clean drinking water issues that have challenged the quality of life in the country.
The Honourable John Silk, the Marshall Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs said that SPC, working through its Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) and Economic Development Divisions has made a major contribution to addressing these “substantial difficulties.”
[Marshall Islands Honourable Minister Foreign Affairs John Silk]
The Minister was speaking from the Noumea headquarters of SPC where he will chair a two-day Ministerial Conference (November 7 and 8).
The Minister said that with funding from EU, the SOPAC Division had provided more than 700 water tanks in Majuro, Eyebe, the country’s second largest island, and in the atolls that has positively affected water distribution.
Mr. Silk also said that the Marshalls have initiated the joint National Action Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, assisted by the SOPAC division.
Through its Economic Development Division has helped the country introduce solar panels to the outer-atolls that have replaced costly kerosene lamps – “something that we are now introducing into Marjuro and Eyebe.”
“In fact I think it would be fair to say that SPC has not only helped with water and energy but has been directly involved in disease eradication, agriculture land development, a number of projects that reflect its reach and expertise.”
“I believe that working closely with the Marshall Islands’ government, SPC has made a substantial difference in the country’s well being and it is a relationship that we look forward to continuing,” Minister Silk concluded.