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New World Bank Project to Improve Rural Services for Over 200,000 People in Papua New Guinea

June 9, 2017

Additional support from Australia will enhance community-led initiatives

WASHINGTON D.C., June 9, 2017 – Over 200,000 people in remote communities across Papua New Guinea (PNG) will benefit from a new World Bank project that will improve access to basic infrastructure and vital services.

The Rural Service Delivery Project, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will provide development grants to support small-scale investments across East New Britain, West Sepik, Simbu and some areas of Central and Western Provinces. Building upon the success of the Rural Service Delivery & Local Governance Project, the US$23 million (PGK73 million) credit will support the upgrading of schools, health centers, community water and sanitation supplies, as well as improvements to access roads, footbridges, jetties and solar power systems.

“A key priority of the PNG Government is to improve rural service delivery in remote areas of the country where the bulk of our country’s people live,” said Dickson Guina, Secretary for the Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs (DPLGA)." We welcome this commitment from the World Bank, which will strengthen our on-going efforts to improve systems and capabilities at the community level, where basic services are most needed.”

Some 80% of PNG’s population live in rural areas, where access to basic services such as health-care and education remains limited. Health centers and schools are often cut off from supply chains for months. Physical isolation is a major challenge for the government in expanding access to and maintaining basic social services.

The project, which follows a community-driven development approach, will also receive additional funding of US$4.5 million (PGK14 million) from the Australian Government. In addition, Australia is providing US$3 million (PGK9.5 million) to support activities that will evaluate the project’s quality and impact over its life cycle.

“Australia is committed to working in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea to improve service delivery in regional PNG, where most Papua New Guineans live, and to support the engagement of citizens in deciding which projects matter most to their communities’ said Bruce Davis, Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea. “This additional funding will allow more people to benefit, by increasing the number of community grants and encouraging women’s participation in decision-making. The lessons we learn from this program will help inform Australia’s broader support for decentralised service delivery in PNG”.

The World Bank Group has significantly scaled up its work in PNG in recent years and is committed to continuing this support for the long term.

“Over 70 communities targeted by the pilot project are enjoying the results of improved water supply, and more classrooms, health clinics, solar power resources, and footbridges. This follow-on initiative will deliver better services to even more people, while also enabling communities to determine the type of services they need most,” said Patricia Veevers-Carter, World Bank Country Manager for Papua New Guinea.

To be implemented by the PNG Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs, the Rural Service Delivery Project will directly contribute to the PNG Government’s key priorities, as articulated in the PNG Government’s Vision 2050 strategy, and is aligned with the World Bank’s priorities in PNG, as outlined in the Country Partnership Framework (2013-18)

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