WASHINGTON, September, 30 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$2.15 million grant to the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) to ensure safety and security oversight in the aviation sector in Pacific Island Countries.
Many Pacific Islands countries face challenges related to their remote, geographically dispersed locations and small populations. Safe and reliable air services are needed to connect people in the Pacific Island countries to each other and to larger markets, and to facilitate important industries such as tourism.
This regional dependence on air services highlights the importance of strengthening PASO, the regional body charged with supporting governments to implement effective aviation safety and security oversight.
The Pacific Aviation Safety Office Reform Project will improve aviation safety and security in Pacific Island Countries by strengthening the technical and coordination capacity of PASO. Designed around three main components, the project will support the reform agenda, build institutional capacity to meet international aviation safety regulations across the region, and modernize information systems for improved quality control.
“Having a safe and efficient aviation sector is essential to so many aspects of life in the Pacific where populations are dispersed across huge distances and separated by vast expanses of ocean,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “This support will help strengthen PASO’s ability to provide critical regional oversight that will improve aviation safety in the Pacific and ensure international safety requirements are met.”
“I thank the World Bank for the support and recognising the needs of the Smaller Island States of the Pacific Islands in their endeavour to tackle their individual safety oversight issues,” said Wilson Sagati, Chief Executive Officer for PASO, “I look forward to see a positive outcome from this Reform whereby we in the Pacific can all be proud of because of our collective desire to improve governance and to make a change for the better. Furthermore, enhancements in safety in the aviation sector will see tangible benefits for the economies of our nations and more importantly that PASO be sustainable with new models of funding and support from our donor partners to deliver its mandate”.
The grant is funded by the International Development Association (IDA) and will be implemented by PASO over a five year period. It complements an earlier grant to PASO to assist with their restructuring provided by the Australian government.
This grant is a part of a series of projects implemented under the Pacific Aviation Investment Program (PAIP) that are designed to increase aviation safety and security in the Pacific, focusing on developing key airport infrastructure for international travel such as runways, navigation aids and lighting; aviation sector reform, and improving airport management and operations.
PASO is a Regional Safety Oversight Organization operating under the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty. Membership comprises 10 countries in the Pacific region.