The World Bank is scaling up its assistance in the Pacific Islands region with a significant increase in funds available through the International Development Association (IDA). A Regional Partnership Framework for nine Pacific Island countries (Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) provides a roadmap for both regional opportunities and country-specific action plans for the next five years.
Fiji and Solomon Islands had individual strategies (a Country Engagement Strategy and Country Partnership Framework respectively) up to 2017 – with new Country Partnership Frameworks for both countries are currently underway.
The World Bank Group’s engagement with these Pacific Island countries reflects the influence of the region’s economic geography on their development trajectories, with unique challenges arising from remoteness.
After significant regional consultations and nearly two years of research, a comprehensive study called Pacific Possible is looking 25 years ahead to quantify the impacts of potentially transformative opportunities and significant challenges for the Pacific Islands region, with seven focus areas:
- labor mobility
- tuna fisheries
- information communications and technology
- health and non-communicable diseases
- climate and disaster resilience
- deep-sea mining.
The findings presented in Pacific Possible aim to provide governments and policy-makers with specific insights into the potential impact of each focus area on the economy, employment, government income and spending.
The World Bank is supporting rural development through a number of projects across the Pacific Islands, including the Rural Development Program in Solomon Islands. The project has helped hundreds of communities develop critical infrastructure, including footbridges, classrooms, health clinics and access to water and electricity.
In the health sector, the World Bank is supporting some Pacific Island countries to strengthen government-led analysis, planning, budgeting, management and monitoring for more efficient and equitable health services.
At the regional level there is a focus on sharing experiences and resource management lessons across countries for better front-line results, including for non-communicable diseases. This includes practical examples for improving the efficiency and quality of expenditure, and addressing financing needs for health security.
Transport, whether via road, air or water, is essential to the Pacific Islands region, to connect people to markets, schools, hospitals and family, often over vast distances of ocean. The World Bank is working with governments in Tonga and Kiribati through the Tonga Transport Sector Consolidation Project and Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project respectively, to improve the reliability and safety of transport networks. Through the Pacific Aviation Investment Program, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) are being supported to make air travel safer and more efficient.
Information Communication Technologies (ICT) such as internet and phones, are also vital for connecting people and businesses in the Pacific Islands. Through the Pacific Regional Connectivity Program, people in the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and Fiji will soon have access to more affordable and reliable internet.
High population growth and high unemployment are now critical issues in Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands. The World Bank is helping the Solomon Islands government to support the most vulnerable of Honiara's population; particularly youth and women, by providing short-term employment and training through the Rapid Employment Project.
In the energy sector, the World Bank is working with the governments of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia to increase electricity access and affordability for essentials like lighting, phone charging, refrigeration and other applications. In Kiribati, Fiji and Tuvalu, the World Bank is supporting efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and foster investment in renewable energy.
The Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP) is a three-phased, multi-year regional initiative designed to help Pacific Island countries strengthen their collective ability to improve sustainable management of commercially important tuna fisheries and ensure that associated benefits equitably shared. PROP also helps Pacific Island countries sustainably manage their coastal fisheries and the critical habitats upon which they depend. Currently, PROP is active in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. In FY19, Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati will join PROP.
Last Updated: Apr 09, 2018