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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Tuvalu - First Development Policy OperationIDA Grant: US$ 3 millionProject ID: P145488Project Description: The objective of the project is to support reforms that strengthen public financial managemen... Show More +t and improve the delivery of social services, while providing critical financing to enable the rebuilding of fiscal buffers. Show Less -
PORT VILA, Vanuatu, November 21, 2013 – The Vanuatu National Warning Centre was officially opened today in Port Vila, to help the Pacific Islands nations assess the threats posed by natural haza... Show More +rds like volcanoes, cyclones and tsunamis. The official opening was attended by H.E. Moana Carcasses Kalosil, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands, and Tsutomu Moriya, Resident Representative of JICA Vanuatu.Featuring state of the art equipment, the centre will form an integral part of Vanuatu’s fight against the elements and paves the way for sharing critical early warning information regionally. Running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the National Warning Centre will house meteorological and geohazards scientists who will monitor and analyse information on volcanic and seismic activity, extreme weather events and tsunamis.“The government is committed to saving lives and mitigating the risks Vanuatu faces from natural disasters,” said Moana Carcasses Kalosil, Prime Minister of Vanuatu. “This warning centre will help us analyse all available scientific data around the clock, in real-time, and to be as prepared as possible when disaster strikes. This is a critical step in building resilience and reducing the human and economic impact of natural disasters.”“Being prepared in the face of a disaster saves lives,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in the Pacific Islands. “The World Bank is proud to be a partner with Vanuatu in strengthening its national response systems by developing this early warning capability.The Pacific Island nation is the sixth most vulnerable nation in the world to natural hazards, including cyclones and earthquakes, with an average of 7 percent of GDP lost every year due to the impacts of these disasters.The National Warning Centre has been created under the Vanuatu national action plan for disaster risk management. It provides faster and more accurate assessments of possible threats and the data collected can also be shared regionally and with neighbouring countries. It was set up as a part of the World Bank’s ‘Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction’ (MDRR) project in Vanuatu, which is funded by the Government of Japan through the Policy and Human Development Trust Fund (PHRD) in the amount of US$2.7 million.“Japan experienced a catastrophe called ‘the Great East Japan Earthquake’ in March 2011. Based upon this experience, Japan recognized the importance of having a warning system to evacuate people from natural disasters effectively,’’ said Tsutomu Moriya, JICA Vanuatu. “The Japanese Government has decided to support countries vulnerable to natural disasters by starting two projects, ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ and ‘Disaster Risk Management,’ in Vanuatu.”The MDRR has refurbished the building housing the warning centre and purchased the software and IT equipment. The project is also working on the design of a Tsunami warning system that will be installed in Port Vila and Luganville Show Less -
Certainty of salaries for government workersFor government workers in Vanuatu, the most frustrating day of the week has traditionally been every second Friday, which is Pay Day for the country’s civil... Show More + servants. With government payment systems often unreliable, the prospect of not getting paid for days – even weeks – has, in the past, been the source of enormous frustration for many.And for thousands of government employees – the teachers, doctors, nurses and officials that live and work in this 83-island nation spread across more than 12,000-square kilometers – that frustration would be compounded by having to make a difficult decision: pay the fee for the journey to the nearest bank (often hours away and on neighboring islands), or wait a few more days to give payments the extra time to be made.“I would need to take a long truck journey to go to the bank,” explained Helen Lingtamat, a secretary at the Malekula office of the Vanuatu Public Solicitor’s Office. “Without a mobile, we had to take transport to go to the bank, just to check our accounts.”When prices of mobile phones came down, Helen bought one and is now an avid user of the National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV)’s recently introduced isiMS system, which provides simple SMS-based account balance updates.“I receive an SMS when my pay is in my account,” says Helen. “I don’t have to buy credit and I don’t have to pay for transport–100 vatu to go down to the bank, and then another 100 vatu to go back to my house.”With the support of the World Bank and other partners, including the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, Vanuatu is one of several countries in the Pacific region that has benefitted from the recent telecommunications revolution, which has helped give over 2 million more people access to mobile phones in a short space of time.This is helping Pacific islanders access services, reach families and do business, in distinctly Pacific ways. Show Less -
Kingdom of Tonga - First Economic Reform Support Development Policy OperationIDA Grant: US$2.5 million equivalentIDA Credit: US$2.5 million equivalentTerms: Maturity = 40 years; Grace = 10 yearsProjec... Show More +t ID: P144601Project Description: The objective of the project is to improve the mobilization and use of public resources while addressing constraints to private sector development. Show Less -
Coverage increases to help 6 Pacific Island Nations better respond to natural disasters SYDNEY, November 1, 2013 – The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot was renewed today for its second se... Show More +ason, with Cook Islands newly joining five other participating Pacific island countries - Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu - to gain insurance coverage against earthquake, tsunami and tropical cyclone risk. The second season will run from November 1, 2013 to October 31, 2014.The insurance scheme aims to provide a rapid injection of funds in the event of a major disaster, to help governments manage the immediate costs of recovery. Access to post-disaster finance can be especially important for Pacific island countries which endure some of the highest average annual losses from natural hazards in the world – up to 6.6% of GDP."Becoming a member of the Pacific catastrophe risk insurance program provides us with an innovative way to work with other countries in the region and transfer some of the catastrophe risk borne by Pacific island nations to the international reinsurance market,” said Mark Brown, Minister of Finance and Economic Management for the Cook Islands. “This transaction provides us with another tool towards becoming self-reliant in disaster management, response and recovery."The scheme’s expansion follows the request of countries during this year’s Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Tonga to grow the program beyond the five pilot countries. Aggregate insurance coverage of the participating countries has increased from US$45 million to US$67 million, with further premium reductions for participating countries.“The expansion of the insurance pilot in the Pacific is a positive sign towards the long-term sustainability of the program,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the Pacific Islands at the World Bank. “Rapid access to emergency funds can be crucial for governments in the wake of a disaster when time is of the essence, and catastrophe insurance could play an important part in this process.”As in the first pilot season, the World Bank will act as an intermediary between Pacific island countries and a group of reinsurance companies, which were selected through a competitive bidding process – Sompo Japan Insurance, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and Swiss Re. AIR Worldwide provides the underlying risk modeling for the transaction.Launched on 17 January 2013, the pilot is made possible through the collective efforts of the Government of Japan, the World Bank, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). It tests a risk transfer arrangement modeled on an insurance plan, and uses ‘parametric triggers’, such as cyclone intensity or earthquake magnitude to determine payouts, which enable quick disbursements. The international reinsurance market has responded positively to the scheme, and has underwritten the portfolio of Pacific catastrophe risks at competitive prices.The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot is part of the broader Pacific Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI) program that is designed to increase the financial resilience of Pacific island countries against natural disasters by improving their capacity to meet post-disaster funding needs. Through this program advisory services are available to Pacific island countries for public financial management of natural disasters, including (i) the development of a national disaster risk financing strategy, recognizing the need for ex-ante and ex-post financial tools; (ii) post disaster budget execution, to ensure that funds can be accessed and disbursed easily post disaster; and (iii) the insurance of key public assets, to contribute to post disaster reconstruction financing.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 Pacific island nations with disaster risk assessment and financing tools for enhanced disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. Show Less -
Tuvalu - Aviation Investment Project [Additional Financing]IDA Grant: US6.06 million equivalentProject ID: P145310Project Description: The objective of the project is to improve the safety and securit... Show More +y of air transport and associated infrastructure. The project will resurface the paved roads in Funafuti which provide access to the airport, provide fresh water storage, and support exporting solid waste from Funafuti atoll. Show Less -