(o+) Fiji Rebukes Attempted Infringement of Pacific Islands Sovereignty
The Fiji Government has reacted strongly to a press release by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on the so-called Cairns Compact that claimed to represent all Pacific countries, despite Fiji’s forced exclusion from the Cairns meeting.
Foreign mininster Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (photo) said Fiji is neither a party nor supports the Cairns Compact, and claimed many major aid donors were uneasy about the Compact. Fiji, he said, views the Compact as an infringement of the sovereignty of Pacific Island Countries and an imposition of the foreign policy of certain regional neighbours on sovereign donors. It breaches the fundamental principles of sovereignty, the right of self-determination of peoples and interferes in the internal affairs of States.
The Minister was particularly concerned that the Compact called for, among others: "regular peer review" of Forum Island Countries'" national development plans to promote international best practice in key sectors and improve effective allocation processes and guide support from development partners."
In other words, the proponents of the Compact and the Forum Secretariat seek to arrogate to themselves to not only audit the aid policies, distribution and disbursement of development aid from donors and partners outside the region, but also to scrutinise the National Budgets of Forum Island Countries. That is unacceptable as it interferes into our national processes. Read more ...
The Compact also identifies the Post Forum Dialogue as the "pre- eminent mechanism for collective review" of development coordination, Ratu Inoke noted, and added that such tools are the right and responsibility of recipient Governments or donors, not third parties. The Compact also called for the "pooling of resources" which will then be delegated to the "lead donors" to disburse. The word "pre-eminent" is an imperial term and the entire process wreaks of neo-colonialism, the Minister said.
The Minister declared that, contrary to its claims, the Compact runs counter to the "Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness" and the "Accra Agenda for Action" which recognises the key principle that recipient countries' ownership of their development strategies is of paramount importance. It has long been recognised that in order for aid and development cooperation to be effective, the process must be demand driven and not imposed from outside.
The Government of Fiji will not support any infringement of the sovereignty of States and the further insult it conveys to valued donors by brazenly questioning their development cooperation policies.
The Minister urged the Forum Secretariat and other regional and international organisations to respect Fiji's position on the Cairns Compact and called on them not to approach non-State actors and other stakeholders in Fiji to engender support for the Compact without the accord of the Fiji Government.
Ratu Inoke also urged the Forum Secretariat and other Forum Members to work with Pacific Island Countries in a transparent, consultative process, if they were genuinely concerned about FICs meeting their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Minister called on the Secretary-General of the Forum Secretariat to take heed of the position of the Fiji Government on the Cairns Compact.