ADB announces priorities for the Pacific at 52nd Annual Meeting

Increased private sector investment and improved connectivity to the world are two priorities the Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.) has for the Pacific, and it intends to mobilise the money to achieve it.

The bank is holding its 52nd Annual Meeting in the Pacific for the first time, which has meant large investments and developments for Fiji’s internet connectivity and transport to account for the nearly 2,000 participants of the meeting, including the support of nearly 500 volunteers.

A.D.B. intends to increase its footprint across the Pacific, according to its Director General for the Pacific Department Carmela Locsin, who said the bank is “scaling up financial and technical support for the region".

The bank is increasing the annual base allocations from US$6 to $13 million (T$34.3 million) per year for the next two years (2019 and 2020) and has pledged to commit US$6 million in climate financing from its own funds.

“This is quite a vital boost in concessional financing resources for many of our client countries in the Pacific,” Ms Locsin said.

Climate change remains top of the A.D.B’s agenda, and it is mobilising co-financing to ensure its projects are achieved, as it designs projects “beyond our means", she added.

The A.D.B. and the Green Climate Fund (G.C.F.) are working together to mobilise US$130 million (T$342.5 million) in grant financing.

The bank is also maintaining partnerships with the World Bank, European Union, the European Investment Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, the governments of New Zealand and Australia and other multilateral development banks to get financing to the Pacific nations that need it most, to mitigate against and adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

In each of its developing member states, the bank is establishing in country offices where previously they had regional offices, like the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Micronesia, Ms Locsin said.

“Our priorities for the Pacific for this year and beyond is to boost capacity, strengthen and activate increased private sector and growth, help our countries prepare for and cope with climate change and disasters, as well as better connect the Pacific region to the rest of the world.”

With the Pacific having some of the world’s most isolated countries, better physical and digital connectivity will enable development and access to markets, continued Ms Locsin.

And Emma Veve, the Director for Social Service and Public Sector Management Division in the Pacific Department said for the bank, climate change colours every action they take.

“What is important is to help [people] adapt to this changing environment so they can continue to retain their lifestyle, their communities and keep their countries functioning.

“Everything we do in the Pacific is somehow relating to climate change these days,” she said.

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