15 May 2009

UNICEF says change in NZAID's emphasis should not affect its work in Pacific.

3:03 pm on 15 May 2009

UNICEF says it does not believe NZAID's shift in emphasis to economic development will have a severe impact on its work in the Pacific.

UNICEF Pacific's policy chief, Dr Will Parks says NZAID should make sure that it supports economic development that will benefit children and families, because that's the best investment it can make in the Pacific.

Dr Parks says UNICEF Pacific has a very strong relationship with the New Zealand government and he expects that to continue.

"If you read carefully what the Foreign Affairs Ministry is saying about economic development, it includes a lot that New Zealand is already doing. New Zealand is a leader in the Pacific in terms of providing support for health and education. UNICEF applauds that, and I think the Foreign Affairs Ministry is also saying it wants to put more emphasis in the Pacific and again UNICEF applauds that."

Dr Parks says NZAID has just signed a three-million US dollar immunisation agreement with UNICEF, and is looking at UNICEF to support its overseas development.