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The World Bank’s Pacific Island member countries have a combined population of about 2.3 million people across a unique and diverse region. The region is made up of hundreds of islands scattered over an area equivalent to 15% of the earth’s surface.

There is great diversity across the Pacific Islands region, from Fiji, which is the largest country of the group (excluding Papua New Guinea) with a population of over 900,000, to Tuvalu and Nauru, with estimated populations of approximately 11,000 each; making them the World Bank Group’s smallest members by population. Kiribati is one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world, consisting of 33 coral atolls spread over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean – an area larger than India.

Pacific Island countries have substantial natural resources, contain extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity, and are setting the stage to enhance digital connectivity and trade in goods and services with global markets. However, Pacific countries are physically remote, have small populations spread across many islands, confront many of the worst impacts of climate change, and are some of the world’s most vulnerable countries to natural disasters.

The remoteness of many of the Pacific Island countries provided some initial protection from the global COVID-19 pandemic, yet outbreaks eventually occurred across the region. As the region recovers from the pandemic, many Pacific countries are facing health and economic impacts that are stifling growth and creating new development challenges. 

The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in 2022, is a strong Pacific-led development strategy for the region. The World Bank is ready to support the region in translating the Strategy into action over the coming years. The strategy will inform the World Bank’s actions in the Pacific, deepening the growing partnership between the World Bank and the Pacific, while leading to direct results for Pacific people.

Sustained development progress will require inclusive community-based approaches as well as long-term cooperation between governments, international development partners and regional organizations. The compounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing climate and disaster shocks on Pacific Island countries will continue to pose major challenges for the region in the years ahead.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2023

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Pacific Islands unit based in Sydney (+61-2) 9223 7773
Level 19 14 Martin Place Sydney NSW 2000
Washington, +1 202-473-4709
1818 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20433 USA