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 percent of the globe’s surface, with a development trajectory that will be shaped by their economic geography.
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Category 5 Storm Triggers Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance PayoutWASHINGTON, March 30, 2015 – The World Bank Group today announced that Vanuatu has received a US$1.9 million payout from the Pacific ... Show More +Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot, the first of several measures that will help the Pacific Island country recover from Tropical Cyclone Pam, which struck the Pacific Island country on March 13.“We are deeply concerned for the people of Vanuatu in the face of devastation caused by Cyclone Pam,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “The insurance payout will support Vanuatu in financing urgent relief and recovery efforts, as we continue to work with the government to identify priorities and offer assistance through various financial mechanisms.”A delegation from the World Bank Group visited Vanuatu last week to conduct an initial scoping mission to assess the impact of the cyclone and the government’s emergency response needs, including immediate financial needs beyond the insurance payout.In addition, to help restore Vanuatu’s tourism sector, a World Bank technical team will arrive in Port Vila on Tuesday, March 31, to negotiate an IDA credit of up to US$59.5 million for the Vanuatu Aviation Investment Project. IDA, or the International Development Association, is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest.“The effect of Cyclone Pam on our country has been catastrophic – destroying years of development and investments,” said Maki Simelum, Vanuatu’s Minister for Finance. “The need for a cohesive and coordinated approach to recovery and reconstruction is immediate and we look forward to working with the development and aid agencies to ensure this is managed.”The Category 5 storm caused widespread damage on 22 of 83 islands in the archipelago, affecting more than half of the population, or about 166,000 people. Initial reports from the country’s national disaster management office estimate that about 65,000 people need temporary shelter, amid severe damages to buildings as well as power and communications networks.The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot reduces the financial vulnerability of Pacific island countries to natural disasters and is made possible through the collective efforts of the Government of Japan, the World Bank Group and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.A grant from the Government of Japan helped cover the Government of Vanuatu’s insurance premium. This grant was provided through the World Bank Group Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries, coordinated by the World Bank Group’s Disaster Risk Management Hub in Tokyo, which was established in partnership with Japan in 2014.This payment is the second payment under the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot launched in January 2013. Tonga was the first country to benefit from a payout in January 2014 after Cyclone Ian. Show Less -
World Bank Group Board approves new development policy operationWASHINGTON, March 26, 2014—The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a Second Development Policy Operation (DPO... Show More +) for the Pacific Island country of Tuvalu. This second in a series of two DPOs will assist the Government of Tuvalu to further strengthen its public financial management, improve the delivery of social services including health and education, and bolster financial reserves for times of need.“The Government of Tuvalu is dedicated to progressive reforms which will ensure our ability to respond to shocks without impeding the level of service delivery,” said Hon. Maatia Toafa, Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development. “The reforms will help streamline and redirect public funds into areas of priority, allowing us to meet the needs of Tuvaluans with services that are equitable and cost effective.”The program will focus on strengthening public financial management through improved spending control, better management of revenues from fisheries, and streamlined reporting of local governments – Kapaules. The program will also support improved service delivery through better management of Tuvalu’s essential overseas medical treatment scheme; and strengthen vocational training, especially access for women, by broadening training available at the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute.“Well-managed public finances are essential for a government to effectively respond in times of environmental and economic shocks,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “This operation will help the Government of Tuvalu overcome some of the challenges that arise from being one of the globe’s smallest, most isolated nations – ensuring a strong public sector and better health and education, especially for women.”Equitable and cost-effective service delivery will be driven by reforms enabling the government to begin directing education spending towards employment-orientated vocational training, while also supporting increased spending on basic healthcare, relied on heavily by poorer households. Similarly, poor and remote households will enjoy improved access to services through reforms to enhance the accountability and transparency of outer island Kapaules. Public financial management reforms will contribute to improving poverty and social outcomes overall by making the budget a more effective tool for responding to national poverty and social needs, particularly in times of economic or environmental distress.The Tuvalu Second DPO will be funded through a US$1.5 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries. Show Less -
SYDNEY, March 15 2015 – We are deeply concerned for the people of Vanuatu in the face of the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam. We are waiting for official casualty reports and stand ready to help.The... Show More + World Bank's disaster risk management (DRM) team is monitoring the situation closely. The priority at this stage will be for the humanitarian and relief agencies to provide emergency assistance."Our hearts go out to the people of Vanuatu in the wake of the devastation from Cyclone Pam. Vanuatu is ranked as one of the world's most at-risk countries to natural disasters because of its vulnerability and exposure to cyclones," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "Cyclone Pam is a devastating reminder of the risks of disasters and we will be working closely with the Government to provide any necessary support."The World Bank Group is now looking at every possible avenue and working with partners to support the people of Vanuatu. Given the intensity of the event and reports of severe damage, the World Bank is exploring the possibility of a rapid insurance payout to the Government of Vanuatu under the Pacific Disaster Risk Financing Insurance Program (PCRAFI).The World Bank will be available to assist with a post-disaster needs assessment if requested by the Government. Show Less -