Ten Pacific Island countries which are members of the World Bank have a population of about 3.4 million people, scattered across an area equivalent to 15 percent of the globe’s surface, with a development trajectory that will be shaped by their economic geography.
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Sydney Australia, February 27, 2015 – World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg has today wrapped up a successful visit to the region where he discussed the World Bank’... Show More +s engagement with various partners and tabled the initial concept for a new regional report – Pacific Possible.“The past week has been an incredibly valuable trip which has afforded me the chance to speak directly with both development partners and beneficiaries of the many World Bank projects delivering for the Pacific,” van Trotsenburg said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the countries for their warm hospitality.”Mr. van Trotsenburg and a small team of World Bank officials spent time in Australia and New Zealand to talk over continued partnership and the support of projects throughout the region. In Fiji the delegation met with Prime Minister Bainimarama and the Finance Minister to discuss the Bank’s re-launching of development programs in the nation, as well as the Pacific Islands Forum and the South Pacific Commission to discuss Pacific Possible.In Samoa and Tonga the delegation met with Prime Ministers Malielegaoi and Pohiva respectively to discuss ongoing projects, as well as the Chambers of Commerce for constructive feedback on Pacific Possible. A number of projects were also visited, including plant and livestock agriculture developments in Samoa, and post-cyclone home reconstruction on the island of Ha’apai in Tonga.“I make a deliberate effort to visit the Pacific Island countries when I come to the region”, van Trotsenburg said. “This was my first visit to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga and I have been impressed by each nation’s commitment to tangible, progressive reform agendas through sustainable development.”“The World Bank stands ready as long-term partner in action to continue its support for the Pacific region, and to help Governments to meet the objectives they’ve identified as priorities,” van Trotsenburg said.Mr. van Trotsenburg consulted with the public and private sectors on the concept of a planned report titled Pacific Possible that will analyze key development opportunities with significant potential for long-term impact. Some of the focus areas being considered include: tourism, ocean resources, knowledge economy, labor mobility, working together, and threats.“Pacific Possible was very well-received by both governments and the private sector during our concept consultations,” van Trotsenburg explained. “We’re pleased that the countries we’ve visited are keen to partner with us on this and capitalize on the World Bank’s extensive experience in using data and analysis to produce reports on development options to solve challenges facing countries and regions.”Mr. van Trotsenburg will return to his base in Washington D.C. later today. Show Less -
New opportunities for Pacific collaboration discussedNuku’alofa, Tonga, February 25, 2015 – Prime Minister Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva and World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Axel van Trotsen... Show More +burg will meet Wednesday to discuss existing development activities and new partnership opportunities, then attend a full Cabinet reception in Parliament.Mr. van Trotsenburg and a team of World Bank officials will also meet with senior Cabinet ministers and visit reconstruction projects in Ha’apai.On Thursday, Mr. van Trotsenburg will attend a breakfast with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as senior government and NGO representatives and journalists. Mr. van Trotsenburg will also visit the landing site of the 826-kilometer fibre optic cable connecting Tonga to Fiji.“This trip reinforces our steadfast dedication to long-term and robust development in the Pacific, including in Tonga,” van Trotsenburg said. “Today’s meeting is part of an ongoing conversation and partnership between the government of Tonga and the World Bank, and I look forward to seeing how we can deepen our support for the people of Tonga and the country’s ambitious development goals.”The World Bank currently has a portfolio of six active projects for a total commitment of $91.6 million (including co-financing and trust fund contributions) in Tonga. The projects support development in information communication technology, public financial management, resilience to climate change and natural disasters, maritime and roads infrastructure, aviation and education.“Tonga welcomes Mr. van Trotsenburg and the World Bank delegation,” Pohiva said. “I look forward to showing Mr van Trotsenburg all that Tonga has to offer and discussing opportunities for the World Bank’s current and future engagement in Tonga to reach its optimum development potential.”The visit also will provide an opportunity for Mr. van Trotsenburg to consult on a planned report titled Pacific Possible that will analyze key development opportunities with significant potential for long-term and robust impact. The project covers six focus areas: tourism, ocean resources, the knowledge economy, labor mobility, working together, and threats.Pacific Possible will examine the potential increases in income and living standards that could be achieved through regional policies supported by Pacific Island countries, along with partners around the broader Pacific Rim including: Australia, Japan, Korea and others.“Pacific Possible aims to provide sustainable recommendations that can deliver transformational differences to smaller Pacific Island countries such as Tonga,” van Trotsenburg explained. “The World Bank has a strong history throughout East Asia of providing valuable inputs for the big development challenges in countries including China and Vietnam. The World Bank has experience at using data and analysis to develop beneficial policy opportunities for countries – Pacific Possible aims to do the same for Pacific Island nations.” Show Less -
New opportunities for Pacific collaboration discussed Suva, Fiji, February 23, 2015 – Prime Minister Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Axel va... Show More +n Trotsenburg will meet Monday to discuss the reinvigorated partnership between the World Bank and the Fijian government following last November’s election.Van Trotsenburg and a team of World Bank officials also will meet with the Minister of Finance, other development partners, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.“Today’s meeting is a chance to strengthen our engagement with Fiji and discuss Prime Minister Bainimarama’s development objectives for the country,” van Trotsenburg said. “I congratulate Fiji, and Prime Minister Bainimarama, on the recent democratic elections and stand ready to continue our role as a long-term partner for development in the Pacific region.”The World Bank has previously acknowledged its plans to support the Fijian government’s development priorities, including transport infrastructure repairs, fostering private business growth and investment, improving livelihoods in rural areas and helping Fiji become more resilient to natural disasters.“Fiji welcomes Mr. van Trotsenburg and the World Bank delegation”, Bainimarama said. “We are eager for continued constructive dialogue on the areas this government has identified as most important for the nation’s development and the people of Fiji.”The visit also will provide an opportunity for Mr. van Trotsenburg to consult on a planned report titled Pacific Possible that will analyze key development opportunities with significant potential for long-term and robust impact. The project covers six focus areas – tourism; ocean resources; knowledge economy; labor mobility; working together, and threats.Pacific Possible will examine the potential increases in income and living standards that could be achieved through regional policies supported by Pacific Island countries, along with partners around the broader Pacific Rim (Australia, Japan, Korea and others).“Pacific Possible will provide sustainable recommendations that can deliver transformational differences to smaller Pacific Island countries, including Fiji,” van Trotsenburg explained. “The World Bank has experience using data and analysis to produce reports to support development in countries including China and Vietnam, Pacific Possible will apply this approach to help generate policy opportunities for Pacific Island countries.” Show Less -
Report to assist policy makers and donors to make rural investment more effectiveHONIARA, February 6, 2015 – A World Bank report launched today in Honiara has looked at ways in which the Solomon Islan... Show More +ds Government and development partners can improve their funding mechanisms; resource distribution and; planning processes for investing in rural infrastructure and service delivery.World Bank Country Manager Anne Tully said, “following the Tension, when Government capacity had greatly diminished in parts of the country, donors and Government invested in a number of programs which delivered direct benefits to rural areas. Now, a second generation of programs is taking shape, and this report is intended to inform discussion as to how best to refine and institutionalize more effective, accountable and transparent investment in rural development.”Solomon Islands, Towards Better Investment in Rural Communities identifies ways to strengthen current methods for investing in rural service delivery by examining the main types of financing for small-scale infrastructure and livelihood activities at provincial, constituency, and community levels. It examined 1449 sub-projects funded between 2008 and 2012.The report looked at a total of more than US$134 million in rural funding disbursed through the four largest rural investment programs: Provincial Capacity Development Fund (provincial level); Rural Development Program and the Rural Advancement Micro-projects Program (community level); and the Rural Constituency Livelihood Fund, and constituency funds more broadly (constituency level).Specifically, the report analyzed how the four programs performed in the areas of local development planning; efficiency and effectiveness; accountability, transparency and dispute management; and technical quality and sustainability.“The findings of the report highlight the need to redefine the current funding streams at constituency, community and provincial levels,” said World Bank Senior Operations Officer Erik Johnson. “Funds should be aligned with clear mandates as well as appropriate capacities for implementation. There is currently signficant overlap in the use of funds, and no clear vision as to how the funds can complement each other as well as the activities of sector ministries.”Solomon Islands, Towards Better Investment in Rural Communities recommends the redistribution of resources across constituency, provincial and community funds as well as an integrated planning process to better align currently disconnected processes – starting with inclusive, participatory village and ward level planning, and working up through the constituency, provincial Government and national levels. Show Less -