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Indonesia's 20 million U.S. dollars of AIDS for the Pacific Islands countries in PIDF

BCFOS -- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday lauded the establishment of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), calling it "a great service" to the peoples of the region rendered by the leaders of Fiji and the other Pacific Islands countries, as the forum further strengthens the existing regional cooperative frameworks.

Susilo, the first Indonesian president to visit Fiji and the South Pacific region, also reiterated Indonesia's strong support to the PIDF countries in a keynote address at the forum's second summit that opened here Thursday under the theme "Green Growth in the Pacific: Building Resilient Sustainable Futures and Geunine Partnership Parterships."

"Green economy is certainly essential for our resilience. It becomes a new economic paradigm which promotes economic progress without harming our natural riches and resources," said Susilo.

"We need green economy because our world today is facing a great challenge from the impact of climate change," he added.

For sustainable growth, the Indonesian president said, it is also important to make appropriate choice of science and technology, tap indigenous knowledge and make persistent efforts to promote "need not greed" as an outlook.

Also critical to Indonesia and the Pacific Islands countries is blue economy, which Susilo believes is an integral part of the green economy.

"This is a concept which is often referred to as a green economy in a blue world," Susilo told the summit of about 400 high- level participants from more than 10 Pacific island governments, civil society and business circles as well as observers from nations such as Morocco, Venezuela, Israel, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Georgia.

Integral to the pursuit of such visions is the promotion of equity and the eradication of poverty, he said. Equity is crucial because it is about justice and fairness while poverty remains " one of the greatest challenges that we all must confront."

As the world's largest archipelago with over 17,000 islands, Indonesia and the Pacific island countries have yet to fully explore the potential of oceans and coastal areas in addressing the impact of climate change, Susilo said.

Since the aspiration of the PIDF to achieve a "Sustainable Pacific Society" is in many ways similar to Indonesia's approach to development, the Indonesian president said his country is committed to intensify cooperation with the PIDF in the area of common concerns and interests.

"Our countries are also prone to natural disasters. Therefore, strengthening cooperation in disaster mitigation and management is important."

Stressing Indonesia's strong commitment to broaden its network of cooperation with PIDF countries in mitigating the impact of climate change, Susilo announced that in the next five years, Indonesia intends to allocate a funding of 20 million U.S. dollars for the Pacific Islands countries.

Indonesia is also committed to boost connectivity with the South Pacific region to overcome the challenge of distance and to enlarge economic ties with the PIDF countries, particularly in trade and investment.

Trade between Indonesia and the PIDF countries stood at 318 million U.S. dollars in 2013, Susilo said, adding, "We should aim to triple that amount to 1 billion U.S. dollars in the coming years." Endi

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