Regional: Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific (Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga)

Sovereign Project | 43090-012

Summary

The project, focusing on the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Tonga, will (i) provide socioeconomic support to the vulnerable population to alleviate the impact of recent economic crises and weakening informal safety nets; (ii) assist the governments in building capacity to develop and implement effective safety net programs; and (iii) help the project countries share good practices through regional conferences. The grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will support cash-for-work programs and semiformal social safety net pilot models, which will provide the basis for country-led social protection policy development and implementation in the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Tonga. Given the limited capacity of the governments to reach dispersed populations in the outer islands, pilot models will build on informal community mechanisms to provide targeted social services to vulnerable groups, with strengthened linkages between governments and community groups or NGOs.

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Project Name Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific (Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga)
Project Number 43090-012
Country Regional
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 9151-REG: Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the Pacific (Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tonga)
Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction US$ 3.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change Partnerships
Sector / Subsector

Health - Social protection initiatives

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description The project, focusing on the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Tonga, will (i) provide socioeconomic support to the vulnerable population to alleviate the impact of recent economic crises and weakening informal safety nets; (ii) assist the governments in building capacity to develop and implement effective safety net programs; and (iii) help the project countries share good practices through regional conferences. The grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will support cash-for-work programs and semiformal social safety net pilot models, which will provide the basis for country-led social protection policy development and implementation in the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Tonga. Given the limited capacity of the governments to reach dispersed populations in the outer islands, pilot models will build on informal community mechanisms to provide targeted social services to vulnerable groups, with strengthened linkages between governments and community groups or NGOs.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The governments of the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Tonga are facing revenue shortfalls as a result of the deterioration in global economic conditions. This poses a threat to the continued delivery of essential social services such as health care and education, and an increased risk of poverty for vulnerable population groups. During crises, households in the Pacific island countries have traditionally relied on support from extended family networks and strong community ties, which function as informal safety nets. Yet, with the growth of the cash economy, increasing rural urban migration, and population growth, traditional informal safety net mechanisms have been weakening. Also, as more people rely on wage income, they are at greater risk of losing their main source of livelihood during economic downturns, as many have done in the recent global economic crisis.

The associated Economic Recovery Support Program loans and grants will support the governments to maintain or increase spending for social services to protect the vulnerable. Yet, given the limited capacity of governments in reaching the most vulnerable, the project will provide resources needed to implement targeted support for the vulnerable by establishing direct linkages to existing informal safety net mechanisms in local communities.

The nature and extent of vulnerable populations in the Pacific is not well understood, and governments have generally played little role in protecting the vulnerable through social safety nets. Because of traditionally strong informal support systems based on the family and the community, there is also little recognition of the importance of allocating public resources to social protection programs. Governments do not regard these programs as priority areas for lending. Through the JFPR grant activities, governments will gain a better understanding of the welfare situation of vulnerable groups and the importance of building effective social protection programs by strengthening linkages to informal social safety nets. The JFPR grant will help develop semiformal safety net models, which governments can sustain and later expand with public resources. Once governments develop proven safety net models and gain experience in implementing them, lending could be considered.

Impact The welfare of vulnerable groups is safeguarded.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

COO: Government and NGOs have improved capacity to provide targeted social protection services to the vulnerable

RMI: Government support has improved food and income security of the vulnerable

TON: Semiformal safety net models developed for effective delivery of social services to the vulnerable

Progress Toward Outcome

Cook Islands: Delivery through contracted NGOs has proved to be an effective modality for providing assistance services, which are being continued for other programs:

RMI: The piloted coconut tree replanting activities produced renewed interests for income generation activities at the community level, generating additional initiatives for economic activities.

Tonga: Piloted home care programs have been taken over by the government and established under the new social protection division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The government has currently committed its budget for next 3 years for the ongoing program and its expansion.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

COOK ISLANDS

(i) Home care or nursing services provided for the vulnerable by the government and NGOs

(ii) Social safety net policies are developed and communicated to the public by the government

(iii) Efficient and effective project management services provided by the PMU

(iv) Policy makers and practitioners have shared their experiences on semiformal social protection models

TONGA

(i) Direct support provided to the vulnerable by the government, NGOs, or CSOs

(ii) Improved government capacity to design social protection models

(iii) Efficient and effective project management services provided by the PMU

(iv) Policy makers and practitioners have shared their experiences on semiformal social protection models

MARSHALL ISLANDS

(i) Direct support provided to the vulnerable for coconut tree planting

(ii) Government capacity to identify the vulnerable population enhanced

(iii) Efficient and effective project management services provided by the PMU

(iv) Policy makers and practitioners have shared their experiences on semiformal social protection models

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Cook Islands:

Home care/nursing services have been implemented from 2012-2014.

5 NGOs were contracted for service delivery with output-based grants; 174 beneficiaries received services during 2 years of implementation.

Government made changes to tax systems linked to welfare programs; reform options have been proposed in a fiscal analysis of welfare reform paper.

One in-country inception workshop and one regional workshop have been completed.

Tonga:

Home care services for the elderly and early intervention care for children with disabilities have been implemented by an NGO from 2012-2014. More than 200 people received these services by September 2014.

A microfinance program for low-income people were also piloted, serving more than 200 beneficiaries as of December 2014.

Marshall Islands:

Cash-for-work schemes were piloted for coconut tree replanting in five atolls, which involved a total of 763 people being employed across 5 atolls.

The 2011 census data were collected and a vulnerability assessments report is being finalized based the census data as well as consultations with stakeholders.

Geographical Location
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement No impact. The project will not involve issues of involuntary resettlement.
Indigenous Peoples No impact. The project will not involve issues of indigenous people within each country.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

Extensive consultation meetings were held with various government departments, provincial government officers, and development partners: Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Australian Agency for International Development, New Zealand Agency for International Development, European Union, the World Bank, United Nations agencies, NGOs, and CSOs.

During the process of designing the project components and assessing institutional arrangements, key government stakeholders from the executing and implementing agencies in each country, other relevant government agencies, key international and local NGOs, church organizations, and international development partners were consulted to support the efficient management and sustainability of semiformal safety model development. International and local NGOs working in local communities were consulted on the design of the skills development and community awareness component that serves the needs of rural communities.

During Project Implementation Extensive consultations have been undertaken to design pilot programs -- home care services in Cook Islands and Tonga, and cash-for-work schemes in Marshall Islands -- across communities. Additional and regular consultations have also been done for monitoring of pilot services and to assess the impact of service programs.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services Consultants for each country will be recruited by the executing agencies in consultation with, and with the endorsement of, ADB according to ADB Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2010, as amended from time to time). ADB will directly recruit regional consultants (one or two persons) according to these guidelines. The mode of consultant recruitment will combine firm and individual recruitment, and the method of selection will be quality- and cost based selection with a quality-cost ratio of 80:20.
Procurement Any procurement under the project will conform to the government's procurement procedures and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Procurement Guidelines (2010, as amended from time to time). Among other needs, procurement will mainly cover equipment, small tools, and office supplies. Since most procurement will be small scale and without much chance of attracting international or national firms, procurement for civil work activities will rely on community participation in line with ADB Procurement Guidelines (para. 3.17) and ADB Project Administration Instructions. Training activities need to be discussed with each implementing agency and relevant stakeholders to guide the design process and avoid duplication. Shopping methods will be used for procuring small equipment and supplies. After project completion, office equipment and manual construction tools will be given to the provincial government.
Responsible ADB Officer Sunhwa Lee
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban, Social Development & Public Management Division, PARD
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Finance & Economic ManagementPO box 120
Cook Islands
Ministry of Finance and National PlanningVuna Road
Nuku'alofa
Kingdom of Tonga
Ministry of FinanceOIDAFIN@NTAMAR.COMP.O. Box D, Majuro
MH 96960
Republic of the Marshall Islands
Timetable
Concept Clearance 06 Jul 2009
Fact Finding 19 Oct 2009 to 06 Nov 2009
MRM -
Approval 13 Sep 2010
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 26 Mar 2015

Grant 9151-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
13 Sep 2010 18 Jan 2011 18 Jan 2011 13 Sep 2013 30 Jun 2015 -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 3.00 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 13 Sep 2010 0.00 2.83 94%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 3.00 13 Sep 2010 0.00 2.63 88%

Safeguard Documents

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Evaluation Documents

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