ADB Celebrates First Year in Fiji Islands with Better Information Services

SUVA, FIJI ISLANDS (17 June 2005) - ADB today celebrated the first anniversary of its South Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO) in Suva, Fiji Islands, by launching a public access Information Kiosk and SPSO website.

Designed to provide better information services to the public, the kiosk will offer users free access to downloads of ADB's website, including the new SPSO web pages, ADB's studies, and reports on the Asia and Pacific region.

The kiosk opening by Fiji Islands' Finance Minister and ADB Governor Ratu Jone Kubuabola comes exactly 12 months after the opening of the SPSO by Prime Minister Hon. Laisenia Qarase and then ADB President Tadao Chino

"The kiosk will further enhance the role of the ADB in the region, whereby people can learn more about the Asian Development Bank and the unique role it plays in the development of our economies as the region's own development bank," said Ratu Jone.

He also said the public access information kiosk augers well for ADB's Pacific Strategy, which is designed to respond to priorities of the poor by creating jobs through enhanced private sector development and improving access and quality of social services such as health, education, water supply, and sanitation.

"We've designed the kiosk in a way that it is user-friendly, so people can walk into our office at the Ra Marama Building," said SPSO Regional Director Sirpa Jarvenpaa.

"The new information kiosk is also in line with ADB's new Public Communications Policy (PCP), which aims to create a better flow of information to the public and promote transparency of ADB's activities and operations," added the Director General of ADB's Pacific Department, Philip Erquiaga, in his remarks brought to the event through a video-conference.

Mr. Erquiaga pointed out that the PCP places ADB at the forefront of the multilateral development banks in terms of transparency and access to information, and commits ADB to greater openness and dialogue with stakeholders.

Fiji Islands joined ADB in 1970. To date ADB has provided 15 loans totaling nearly US$225 million and 71 grants totaling US$23 million. In addition to Fiji Islands, SPSO works to improve strategic relevance and development effectiveness of ADB-funded programs in Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Cook Islands, and from next year in Kiribati.