Address by ADB Vice-President Stephen P. Groff on 14 August 2013 at the new office premises for Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney, Australia.
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and welcome to the new premises of the Asian Development Bank’s Sydney office and our inauguration ceremony today. It is hard to believe that 8 years have passed since ADB arrived in Australia and President Kuroda came to Sydney to inaugurate the Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office on 3 August 2005. In a relatively short time, this office has become one of the cornerstones of ADB’s presence in the region.
Since 2000, ADB has significantly expanded its operations in the Pacific, establishing a presence in almost all of our Pacific developing member countries. We have country offices in: Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Australia. ADB shares joint liaison offices with the World Bank Group in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. We also have Development Coordination Offices in: Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.
The Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office, or ADB Sydney as we like to refer to it, is an interesting hybrid and quite different from any of ADB’s Resident Missions or Resident Offices. This office is ADB’s focal point for programming, processing and administration of assistance in Nauru, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It is also ADB’s project division for financial sector and private sector development across our 14 Pacific member countries.
ADB Sydney is firmly committed to building partnerships with the private sector largely through the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI)--a regional technical assistance facility co-financed by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the New Zealand Aid Programme, and ADB. Based here in this office, the PSDI is a knowledge hub with a team of experts working on: business law reform, access to financial services, state-owned enterprise reform, and public-private partnerships, competition policy and the economic empowerment of women. Through these activities, in partnership with the governments and other development partners [many of whom are here today] we are helping lift the barriers to business in the Pacific.
ADB Sydney is also hosting the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) Coordination Office, which is assisting the Pacific Island governments with comprehensive and coordinated support and technical advice on infrastructure development, particularly in the areas of: water, sanitation, power, transport, and ICT. PRIF partners consist of ADB, Australia, New Zealand, the World Bank Group, the European Commission, and European Investment Bank and soon JICA.
Speaking of partners, I would like to especially acknowledge the Australian Government with whom ADB worked closely to establish this office in 2005. Australia’s co-financing partnership with ADB started with simple project financing in the Pacific. It has now developed into a close partnership across different regions including through major development programs in South East Asia, South Asia and of course the Pacific region. Australia is ADB’s second largest grant co-financier, and one of the largest contributors to the Asian Development Fund, ADB’s concessional financing window.
The strategic location of this office here in Sydney allows ADB to be more responsive to the needs of the Pacific. It also promotes stronger relations with key development partners and greater interaction with the local academic community, non-government organizations the private sector, commercial banks, media and others to enrich our collective knowledge base and enhance the development effectiveness of our operations.
The development challenges in the Pacific are many. It is a region in transformation and ADB is contributing to this process by boosting connectivity with investment in ICTs, developing resilience to climate change, facilitating private sector-led inclusive growth, preparing for a renewable and green energy future, and supporting a competent and competitive workforce.
Through this office, ADB reaffirms our shared and long-term mission to support inclusive and sustainable development in the Pacific region. Thank you.