7th Pacific Humanitarian Team regional meeting address by Mr Jules Irrmann
7the Pacific Humanitarian Team – Regional Meeting
28 – 30 October 2014. Holiday Inn, Suva. FIJI
Hello everyone and thank you to UN OCHA for giving me the opportunity to present in this 7th Pacific Humanitarian Team regional meeting, the action of France in the Pacific – in the reduction and prevention of risks, but also, more broadly, our political cooperation.
We are just minutes from lunch and I know you all have had a lot of discussions in the morning so to stimulate and help you through this session, I thought I could start my session with An ice breaker in the form of a little quiz. I have brought with me some “goodies” and the person to give a correct answer will receive "gift with the Embassy of France in Suva logo” - a mug, a cap, a writing pad and a pen and a reusable bag!
My first question is: How many South Pacific countries does France share borders with? a / 6; b / 8; c / 11 The correct answer is: c / 11 countries.
Second question: What country is geographically closest to Fiji? a / Tonga; b / Vanuatu; c / France. And no, it is not Tonga; it is France (Wallis and Futuna).
Third question: How many French citizens live in the South Pacific: a / 10,000; b / 120 000; c / 540 000. The correct answer is 540,000!
These short quiz questions are to show you that France is a country in the Pacific! The problems of island countries are also our problems. We are concerned and it is not just words as we watch our subsidiary question: what is the amount of annual financial transfers between mainland France and its territories in the Pacific? a / EUR 650 million; b / EUR 1.2 billion; c / EUR 2.5 billion? Yes, EUR 2.5 billion is right answer!
We operate in the region in several forms regarding risk reduction, with the thematic priority climate change today. Our primary mode of intervention, and certainly the most important was a multilateral framework.
France contributes about 20% to the European Development Fund, whose budget for the Pacific is about 500 million euros. Thus, a fifth of the money disbursed by the European Union in the region comes from the people of France.
We are also founding members and one of the main contributors of the Pacific Community - Secretariat (SPC / CPS) and the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP / SPREP). The French Development Agency (AFD) has funded to the tune of € 4 million RESCCUE project with SPC for the protection of marine ecosystems.
Bilaterally, our embassies in the region alive and finance, particularly through the "Pacific Fund" projects involving, including financially, territories, allowing us to enjoy and to highlight world-renowned research centers there. I refer to the Research Institute for Development (IRD) that works with USP (PACE-SD, a program funded by the European Union), the French Institute of the Sea (IFREMER), which conducts studies on the seabed, the Pasteur Institute and the Institute Mallarde working with countries in the region on the mechanisms of transmission of dengue.
At the global level, France, with the European Union, is among those who lead the way in the fight against global warming, as demonstrated by the spectacular European announcement last week (40% emissions by 2030).
The next Conference of the Parties (COP21) to be held in Paris in 2015. France would achieve universal and binding fair, balanced to limit the temperature increase to 2 ° C. We will need it for the help of everyone, especially the countries of AOSIS.
And, of course risk prevention in the region is another of our priority. Regarding our support in times of crisis, I would like to remind you of the existence of the FRANZ agreement between France, Australia and New Zealand which aims to coordinate our responses. This agreement has worked well in recent years.
The Armed Forces of New Caledonia have included the provision of means of transport entirely complementary means provided by our partners. I know that everyone remember the cyclone that hit (Cyclone IAN) Tonga earlier this year: it is a French plane that brought on site, from the capital Nuku’alofa the regional head of UN OCHA because it was the only one that could land on this small island!