Building Partnerships Key to Social Protection of Pacific's Vulnerable - ADB

Semi-formal safety net pilot programs are being implemented in Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga under the Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific project.

MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS – Pilot projects supporting vulnerable populations in Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga are helping reduce the impact of economic downturns and counteracting the declining effectiveness of informal safety nets, according to experiences shared at a workshop organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The three-day regional workshop, which begins today, focuses on semi-formal safety net pilot programs implemented under the Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific project, funded by a $3 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) through ADB.

“These innovative pilot programs are strengthening partnerships between governments and community groups and are producing good results in safeguarding the welfare of vulnerable populations. They are also enhancing government capacity for social protection,” said Sunhwa Lee, ADB Principal Social Development Specialist. “This regional workshop is a great opportunity to showcase the governments’ leadership in pilot programs and policy dialogues on social protection.”

In Marshall Islands, cash-for-work opportunities for the unemployed, youth, and low-income groups are focused on coconut tree replanting since nearly two-thirds of coconut trees are non-productive and need to be replaced. As coconut trees are an important source of food and income generation for Marshall Islanders, this pilot is contributing to both food and income security.

In Tonga and Cook Islands, existing community networks and NGOs are being strengthened to provide social assistance, such as home care and nursing services, health promotion visits, and early childhood intervention services, to the elderly and people with disabilities. governments’ monitoring is also playing a key role for the assistance.

Representatives from the Governments of Cook Islands, Marshall Islands and Tonga, along with the Embassy of Japan and other stakeholders based in Marshall Islands, are participating in the workshop.