21 Jan 2004

EU grants over a million US dollars to Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum

11:42 am on 21 January 2004

A de-registered NGO in Fiji has signed a three-year grant agreement with the European Union for more than a million US dollars.

The Fiji's Citizens Constitutional Forum, or CCF, competed internationally with other NGOs for the funding.

The CCF Executive Director, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says he believes the organisation's transparency and accountability processes helped them get the grant.

"The fact that EU has entrusted us with this amount of money, as well as others, does demonstrate that international partners appreciate the work that we're doing on lobbying, on linking local issues, national issues with the international conventions, and the ongoing watchdog on government."

The Rev Akuila says they are happy to have received the grant for projects, which will focus mainly on youth and human rights, as well as land reconciliation and Fiji's constitution.

Meanwhile, the European Union representative in Suva, Frans Baan, says more Pacific countries need to submit quality proposals for EU grants.

He says the CCF's proposal to improve the rights of all Fijians as laid down in the country's constitution, was in line with the EU's initiative on Democracy and Human Rights.

But Mr Baan says he'd like to see more Pacific countries putting quality proposals to the EU.

That has also been a problem also in the past in this very competitive atmosphere of rigid line financing by the EU. The Pacific had not performed as well as the other ACP regions. So I'm very happy to see at least now we're getting in some solid responses from the Pacific with the financing of these two this year.

Frans Baan says the other EU grant to the Pacific was also signed in Fiji with 'Live and Learn,' - an organisation dealing with good governance on water management.