As many of IFAD stakeholders will know by now, as of 14 August the responsibility for the IFAD programme in the Pacific was shifted from Ron Hartman to me. As the new Country Programme Manager I am delighted for this chance to serve our Member States in the region (now including Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tonga - with membership for Nauru and Tuvalu in the works). However, I recognise that it wont be easy to fill Ron's shoes. Ron is a vital part of the Asia and the Pacific Division at IFAD and has pioneered important efforts to push hard for results management and making sure that everything we do translates into results and outcomes that ultimately benefit the people living and working in remote rural communities where IFAD-financed activities are set.
As the new Country Programme Manager I am also committed to that. And, I will follow through on commitments that Ron has made to partners in the Pacific on behalf of IFAD. Ron and I will be working with Sakiusa Tubuna to achieve a smooth handover, to follow up on all initiatives underway, and to respect the engagements already taken with partners and stakeholders in the region. So I believe that those of you who have worked with Ron will find a strong sense of continuity in IFAD's work as we go ahead together.
Naturally, this transition also provides the opportunity for change, based on the lessons learned and knowledge acquired in investing IFAD resources. The on-going process of mapping out a new Sub-Regional Strategic Opportunities Paper, (SRESOP) for 2013-2018 being facilitated by IFAD consultant David Young will provide us all with the chance to adjust our approach and agree together on any necessary revisions based on our experience and changing conditions in the Pacific today
In terms of working style, one slight difference that you will find is that I will be using this online space as my main vehicle for communicating with stakeholders and partners in the region when we are not face to face and working in different time zones which - given the remote nature of the Italian peninsula with respect to the Padfic Ocean community - is likely to be much of the time. I know that telephone calls, skype and emails will still have to be part of the working arrangements, but I think that there can be benefits to working in a collaborative environment online when internet connectivity makes this possible.
In this connection, I would like to invite everyone that is working with or interested in IFAD's work in the Pacific to do the same. Engage in the portal, contribute your ideas, documents, resources. announcements, news, photos. I am convinced we wil all benefit.