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BRIEF May 18, 2020

World Bank’s Operational Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands


The World Bank is moving quickly to help the Pacific and Papua New Guinea save lives and preserve livelihoods in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Emergency operations have already been approved under the COVID-19 fast-track facility for Fiji, KiribatiMarshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The operations provide emergency financing for the purchase of medical and laboratory supplies, training of medical staff, and strengthening national public health systems.

While the World Bank is working across the globe in mobilizing assistance to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery – the work being done in the Pacific is unique.

The Pacific region contains the majority of the few remaining countries that have not recorded a case of COVID-19 but low health capacity, high rates of non-communicable diseases and other strains such as natural disasters - as was seen with the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga - mean that these countries are still in need of support.

The World Bank is also working with countries to redeploy existing projects to strengthen health systems and better fight the COVID-19 pandemic by reallocating funds, triggering emergency components of existing projects, and activating Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Options (CAT-DDOs) – that provide emergency urgent funding to respond to a crisis; with these activated in Samoa and Vanuatu in response to COVID-19. 

In a second phase of the COVID-19 response, to help countries address the anticipated severe economic, social and poverty impacts, the World Bank is working with countries to support businesses and safeguard jobs, and advance the reforms needed to shorten the time to recovery and build conditions for broad-based and sustainable growth.

A Development Policy Operation in Solomon Islands, that was expanded to account for these impacts, is an example of this.


Project Details

Marshall Islands

World Bank Support for Marshall Islands’ COVID-19 Response

Papua New Guinea

World Bank Commits to Papua New Guinea’s Fight Against COVID-19


World Bank Provides US$5.1m for Samoa COVID-19 Response


World Bank provides additional US$3.4 million for Samoa’s fight against COVID-19


COVID-19: World Bank Boost for Fiji’s Health Sector


COVID-19 Prevention Drives Boost for Public Health in Kiribati

Solomon Islands

New $15 million Operation to Build Sustainable Growth in Solomon Islands


Tonga: US$8.4 Million to Strengthen Resilience and Fight COVID-19

VanuatuUS$10m Emergency World Bank Funding for Vanuatu