MoU signed to improve health and development of young Pacific Islanders
SUVA, 14 November 2008 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pacific Office and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have just signed a four-year memorandum of understanding (MoU). The agreement is designed to strengthen their partnership and collaboration and enhance their joint contribution to improving the health and development status of young Pacific Islanders.
Between them, SPC and UNICEF Pacific cover a range of areas relating to development. Many of the issues they deal with involve cultural, social and environmental factors that are outside the health sector yet are important in determining the overall health status of a population.
‘The new MoU between UNICEF and SPC recognises that team work will reinforce our efforts to ensure that Pacific children and youth grow up in a healthy environment and have access to the best health services possible,’ said SPC Director-General, Dr Jimmie Rodgers.
This collaboration between the two organisations is based on a number of principles, with the key being a commitment that all work undertaken by SPC and UNICEF will be guided by the needs and priorities expressed by Pacific Island countries and territories.
‘To increase their effectiveness and make the best use of resources, both agencies will harmonise their activities wherever possible in areas they work together’, said Dr Isiye Ndombi, UNICEF Regional Representative. ‘These activities cover data management, communication for behaviour and social change, education, emergency preparedness, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, health and sanitation, child protection and youth issues.’
The UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Anupama Rao Singh who traveled from Bangkok, Thailand, to officiate on behalf of UNICEF said ‘this is a great milestone in the collaboration of two key partners which will yield many dividends for Pacific people.’
The partnership between SPC and UNICEF will also cover cross-cutting areas such as policy analysis and advice, technical and financial support, research, development and implementation of programmes, expansion of existing initiatives and collaborations, development of risk reduction strategies and monitoring and evaluation.
SPC’s Director-General and the UNICEF Regional Director will oversee the overall relationship between the two organisations. Implementation of the MoU will be monitored by an Executive Oversight Group comprising the Director of SPC’s Public Health Division and the UNICEF Deputy Representative for the South Pacific. There will also be formal annual consultations to review progress and regular meetings at both management and technical levels.
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