The World Bank is scaling up its assistance in the Pacific Islands region with a tripling of available funds through the International Development Association (IDA). A new Regional Partnership Framework for nine Pacific Island countries (Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), 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 have individual Country Partnership Frameworks covering 2017.
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 including Deep-Sea Mining, Tourism, Health and Non-Communicable Diseases, Tuna Fisheries, Labor Mobility, Climate and Disaster Resilience, and Knowledge Economy. 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 Project in Solomon Islands. The project has helped hundreds of communities develop critical infrastructure, including bridges, schools, health clinics and access to water and electricity.
In the health sector, the World Bank is supporting Pacific Island countries to reduce the rate of non-communicable diseases including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Pacific Islands Non-Communicable Disease Roadmap has been developed in partnership with governments and key stakeholders in the region.
Transport, whether via road, air or water, is essential to the Pacific Islands region, connecting 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 government of Vanuatu to increase access to electricity across the country for essentials like lighting and phone charging, while in the Federated States of Micronesia the Energy Sector Development Project is supporting the government to increase the availability and efficiency of electricity. In Kiribati and Fiji, the World Bank is supporting efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and foster investment in renewable energy.
20 million square kilometers of the South Pacific are home to the largest tuna fishery in the world, and Pacific Island countries derive significant economic and social benefits from their marine resources. So far, the Pacific Regional Oceanscape Program is helping Pacific Island countries including the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu to support conservation of marine environments while capturing a greater share of the benefits from their fisheries.
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2017