Ten Pacific Island countries which are members of the World Bank have a population of about 2.3 million people, scattered across an area equivalent to 15% of the globe’s surface, with a development trajectory that will be shaped by their economic geography.
Read More »
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2015 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$32.29 million in International Development Association (IDA) grants and credits to support the Pacific Resil... Show More +ience Program – a series of projects to strengthen Pacific Island countries’ resilience to natural disasters.The Pacific Resilience Program will initially provide assistance to Samoa, Tonga, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, as well as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. This assistance will strengthen early warning and preparedness; retrofit key public assets to meet international resilience standards; create a framework for smarter investment in resilience activities; and improve financial resilience by enabling access to an immediate injection of cash for post-disaster recovery.“The impact of Cyclone Pam, which devastated Vanuatu just over three months ago, demonstrated the urgent need for Pacific Island countries to build resilience in the face of increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “The Pacific Resilience Program will assist highly-exposed Pacific Island nations to better prepare for and respond to natural hazards and climate change. This is a regional approach to building resilience that will ensure the unique needs of individual nations are addressed.”The Pacific Resilience Program will be delivered under a combination of nationally and regionally implemented activities over five years – helping to consolidate and avoid duplication of resilience initiatives across the Pacific. The program will also help to effectively train local institutions, civil society groups, village communities, community volunteers and community groups in disaster-risk management and climate resilience.“The Pacific Resilience Program is the latest in a series of measures the Government of Tonga is implementing to increase our resilience to natural disasters, following the tsunami of 2009, and cyclone Ian in 2014,” said Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga. “This new resilience program will assist Tonga and our Pacific neighbors to build the capacity to effectively plan for and respond to climate and disaster risks facing our nations.”The participation of regional organizations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will help ensure many of the capacity constraints faced by individual nations can be addressed through advice and assistance from regional experts within these organizations.“The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is looking forward to providing assistance on the regional implementation of the Pacific Resilience Program,” said Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. “We will be working with development partners in the region to look at various resilience-focused initiatives, including the coordination of a mutual insurance fund for natural disasters.”The Pacific Resilience Program will build on existing World Bank-financed projects in the Pacific which have combined policy support, improved preparedness and response, and investments for risk reduction in various sectors, including transport, agriculture, water and coastal management. In addition to Samoa, Tonga, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, it is hoped that other Pacific Island countries will join the program in coming years – helping to strengthen disaster resilience in the Pacific.Financial resilience will also be improved under the program through the continuation of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Finance Initiative (PCRAFI) disaster risk finance and insurance program, including the PCRAFI insurance pool. Further, the Pacific Resilience Program will work to develop additional financial products to complement the PCRAFI insurance.The Pacific Resilience Program will be funded through US$32.29 million in grants and credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries. The Global Environment Facility's (GEF) Special Climate Change Fund is providing a grant of $4.58 million to Tonga and a grant of $0.90 million to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community will provide US$5.79 million in grant funding; and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery to Tonga will provide $US1.5 million in grant funding.This press release has been updated as of June 25, 2015 to correct an error regarding the amount of grant financing from the GEF's Special Climate Change Fund to Tonga and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. About the Pacific Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI)The Pacific DRFI Program is part of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), a joint initiative of the World Bank, SPC, and the Asian Development Bank with financial support from the Government of Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the European Union. PCRAFI, launched in 2007, aims to provide the PICs with disaster risk assessment and financing tools for enhanced disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, including the development of the PCRAFI insurance pool.About the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and RecoveryThe Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) helps high-risk, low-income developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerabilities to natural hazards, and adapt to climate change. Working with over 400 partners—mostly local government agencies, civil society, and technical organizations—GFDRR provides grant financing, on-the-ground technical assistance to mainstream disaster mitigation policies into country-level strategies, and a range of training and knowledge sharing activities. GFDRR is managed by the World Bank and funded by 25 donor partners.About the World Bank GroupThe World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and ifc.org.Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldbankFor our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank Show Less -
Washington D.C., June 19, 2015 – Samoans will soon be connected to cheaper and higher-capacity internet access after the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a grant of US$16 Million for... Show More + the Samoa Connectivity Project today.The project is expected to bring economic and social benefits to Samoa with significantly more reliable and affordable internet connectivity. The improved connectivity will support the country’s businesses and tourism sectors, and enable improved access to information on health, education and job opportunities. It will also help families stay connected with the more than 100,000 Samoans who live overseas. In addition, the project will provide technical assistance to the Office of the Regulator in Samoa.The project will be carried out as a private-public partnership, with financing from the Asian Development Bank, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the newly established Samoa Submarine Cable Company.The Project forms part of the World Bank’s Pacific Regional Connectivity Program, a series of projects done in partnership with other development agencies to help Pacific Island countries achieve more affordable information and communication technologies and reduce their isolation.Samoa will soon be connected via a 1,300km cable that will link the country’s largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i, to the Southern Cross Cable Network in Suva, Fiji. Fiji is a well-established submarine cable hub with connections to Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, the United States (Hawaii) and Vanuatu. The cable will also provide opportunities for neighboring countries to connect. Work on the cable is planned to start in 2016."This cable is far more than simply an important piece of technology. It is a key infrastructure project that can deliver extraordinary benefits across Samoa’s education, health, business and tourism sectors for decades to come,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “This project builds on our experience with similar cable project in the region and we look forward to working with the Government of Samoa and our development partners to bring world-class connectivity to Samoa.” Samoa is currently connected to the internet via satellite and the older American Samoa-Hawaii Cable System. The growing demand for connectivity means that much higher-capacity and lower-cost solutions are now needed. “This project is central to the long-term development needs of Samoa,” said the Hon. Tuisugaletauá Ali'imalemanu Sofara Aveau, Samoa’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology. “It will create opportunities for business by connecting us to the global marketplace, it will help to stimulate jobs and innovation, it will help the government to deliver services in more efficient ways, and it will help families to communicate more easily with their loved ones overseas at a fraction of current costs.”The total cost of the project is US$49.94 million ($126.28 million Samoan Tala), and will be financed by the US$16 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries; US$18.5 million from the Asian Development Bank; US$8.18 million from the Samoa Submarine Cable Company; US$5.76 from the Government of Samoa and US$1.5 million from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.Samoa’s cable follows on from an 827-kilometre fiber-optic cable between Tonga and Fiji which was completed in August 2013, in addition to a cable system connecting Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia to Guam, for which construction is scheduled to start in 2016. Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: www.twitter.com/worldbankasiaFor our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/worldbank Show Less -
Aviation sector receives critical upgradePORT VILA, June 3, 2015--The Vanuatu Government today signed a US$59.5 million credit agreement with the World Bank to improve the safety and efficiency of its... Show More + aviation sector – a critical pillar in Vanuatu’s continued social and economic development, and a key part of its disaster management and recovery activities.The Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project will deliver sector reform, along with essential upgrades to runways, terminal infrastructure and air traffic control management for Vanuatu’s international airports.World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross signed the agreement with Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Maki Simelum at a ceremony in Port Vila today.“Aviation plays a vital part in Vanuatu’s economy, especially for the tourism industry,” said Maki Simelum. “This project will improve airport facilities in need of repair across the country, some of which are in need of urgent repairs following Cyclone Pam.”Out of the total project funding, US$3.8 million has been set aside for emergency reconstruction for damages to airports caused by the Category 5 cyclone, which killed 11 and left thousands homeless in early March.The project will invest in key aviation infrastructure and navigational and communication equipment for Vanuatu’s three international airports – including new runway lighting and improved safety and security equipment for luggage and cargo screening. Port Vila’s Bauerfield International Airport will receive urgent runway rehabilitation and a new domestic terminal.In addition, the project will finance the strengthening of Vanuatu’s aviation regulator and institutions by developing an Airport Master Plan and an Aviation Sector Strategy to guide future developments, as well as delivering targeted technical assistance and training to identify and support the sector’s long-term needs.“The World Bank sees this project as a priority for Vanuatu, given aviation’s pivotal role in the nation’s long- term economic development” said Franz Drees-Gross. “The role of aviation in the ability respond to natural disasters was highlighted after the recent cyclone – another reason why investing in this sector is so important.”US$59.5 million for the project will be funded through a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The Australian Government has committed US$300,000 through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) for a safety and security audit and advisory support services. Show Less -