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PRESS RELEASE November 16, 2017

Critical Funds for Tuvalu’s Aviation Sector Approved

WASHINGTON, November 16, 2017 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a grant of US$8.75 million to augment the financing of the Tuvalu Aviation Investment Project (TvAIP), which aims to improve operational safety and oversight of international air transport and associated infrastructure.

The funds will be used to undertake repairs of the runway at Funafuti International Airport, which is being impacted by water infiltration exacerbated by tidal and sea level impacts. Several trial design solutions will be piloted over the cyclone season to address this unique challenge, and the project’s extension by two years will allow for essential long-term monitoring and maintenance of the runways.

The project has also been restructured to include US$200,000 for local gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against children (VAC) counsellors; the implementation of a code of conduct for civil works contractors around GBV and VAC; as well as the piloting of several tools to improve Environmental and Social Management Plan monitoring. Preparatory funds from the World Bank Group’s State and Peace Building Fund were provided to develop these activities, and ongoing support is being provided by the Nordic Trust Fund.

“It is imperative that the nation’s only international airport continues to function safely. Additional financing for the project will help Tuvalu’s efforts to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Michel Kerf, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “The provision of funds for programs targeting gender-based violence and violence against children are a testament to the commitment of the Government of Tuvalu and the World Bank to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.”

TvAIP was the first-ever investment in Tuvalu to be funded by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the most in-need countries. Original financing of US$11.85 million was approved on December 13, 2011, with additional grants equivalent to US$6.06 million equivalent and US$2.88 million approved in 2013 and 2016, respectively. This additional financing is also funded through IDA.

The project is financing the resurfacing of the runway, a new terminal, the provision of improved navigation aids, a fire tender and other safety related equipment, as well as technical training. Additional financing has also been previously provided to fund resurfacing of roads on Fongafale Island, which provide access to Funafuti Airport, and the building of a water cistern under the new terminal.

TvAIP is one of a series of projects implemented under the Pacific Aviation Investment Program, which strives for increased aviation safety and security in the Pacific and focuses on developing key airport infrastructure for international travel, such as runways, navigation aids and lighting. The program also aims to improve airport management and operations and to support overall aviation sector reforms.

For more information, please visit: www.worldbank.org/pi

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Benjamin Brighouse
+61 433 028 405
Dini Djalal