The World Bank has been scaling up its assistance in the Pacific Islands and is moving from a regional approach to individual country strategies to better acknowledge country-specific challenges and priorities. In recent years, the World Bank has developed specific country strategies for the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Fiji with other Pacific Island countries to follow.
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.
A new research piece called ‘Pacific Possible’ is underway to help provide insights on the challenges faced by Pacific Island countries and to see what is realistically possible by the year 2040. The analytical work will include seven individual papers focusing on various topics: labor mobility; deep-sea mining; fisheries; health and non-communicable diseases; ICT and knowledge management; climate change and disaster management; and tourism.
The Bank is supporting rural development through several projects, 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 Bank is supporting Pacific Island countries to reduce the rate of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The regional Non-Communicable Disease Roadmap has been developed in partnership with governments and key stakeholders in the region.
As most Pacific Island countries are comprised of low lying islands, they are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. Efforts to help Pacific Island nations promote adaptation to climate change will be essential to ensuring long-term resilience and security. The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot uses risk pooling to help lower the cost of participating countries’ insurance, while the Pacific Resilience Program and other projects in the region support natural disaster preparedness and mitigation.
Transport, whether via road, air or water, is vital to Pacific Islands as it connects people to markets, schools, hospitals and family, often over vast distances. In Tonga, the World Bank is working with the government through the Tonga Transport Sector Consolidation Project to improve the reliability and safety of Tonga’s transport network. Through the Pacific Aviation Investment Program, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa will be supported to make air travel safer and more efficient.
High population growth and high unemployment have become serious problems in Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands. The World Bank is helping the government to assist 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 Bank is working with the Government of Vanuatu to increase the number of households with access to electricity for things such as lighting and phone charging. In the Federated States of Micronesia the Energy Sector Development Project will support the government to increase the availability and efficiency of energy supply for the country.
In the mining sector, the World Bank is providing technical assistance to the Solomon Islands Government to review existing policies and regulations. This work includes raising awareness of the importance of the role of women in the negotiation and management of mining royalties, and supporting Solomon Islands to sign up to the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative.
The World Bank is supporting initiatives to improve access to telecommunications and other information communication technologies in countries across the region. The Pacific Regional Connectivity Program is working with the governments of Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia and, most recently, Samoa to provide improved communications technology access – connecting people and businesses to services, markets and information, regionally and beyond.
Pacific Island countries derive significant economic and social benefits from their marine resources. This is a major opportunity for the region: 20 million square kilometers of the South Pacific are home to the largest tuna fishery in the world. 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 capture a greater share of the benefits from their fisheries, while supporting conservation.
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016