ADB's Work in Fiji
Fostering Resilient Development
Fiji and ADB are working together to recover from one of the strongest storms on record. It is just the latest effort in a long partnership that has built roads, improved water supply and sanitation, and provided reliable electricity.
Fiji joined ADB in 1970. Since 1970, ADB has partnered with Fiji on $506 million in projects and programs designed to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty.
Strengthening transport links
During the 1990s, ADB and Fiji worked to rehabilitate the country’s road system, with about 300 kilometers (km) of roadway built since then, including sections of the Kings and Lodoni highways. This work included the Third Road Upgrading (Sector) Project, which ran from 1996 to 2014 and was partly funded by almost $67 million in ADB loans. The project rehabilitated about 120 km of roads, upgraded a further 125 km, and improved road safety. It also assisted in establishing the Fiji Roads Authority as the agency responsible for maintaining roads, bridges, and jetties.
A new road in northern Tailevu Province illustrates the impact of good roads, which have brought business, farming, and better education opportunities to a formerly isolated region.
Maika Vunimoli, a villager in rural Fiji, set up an ecolodge with beach bungalows and a restaurant, after he noticed how motorists traveling with their families down the new road were drawn to the beach beside his house.
"The road has benefited the Ratu Kadavulevu School," says Principal Nemani Bale. "The road made it easier for students to attend events and activities in the capital and for parents to visit."
The new road is also helping the pineapple farmers in the area to reach buyers in the food market in the nearby town. “With less traveling time and good roads, there’s been little need for maintenance on our trucks,” says Surendra Singh, a pineapple farmer.
Building on the successes of previous projects, ADB committed $100 million to Fiji to further improve the transport network in 2014. This is expected to help improve more than 100 km of roads, and build or repair 30 bridges and 6 jetties.
In the early 2000s, the Fiji Ports Development Project was undertaken to extend the life of Suva Port by 15 years and protect it from earthquakes. The project also expanded the capacity of Lautoka Port and made it more resilient to the effects of natural disasters.
"The Fijian government appreciates ADB’s continued support in areas of technical, grant, and loan assistance, and of course, the continuing close dialogue that Fiji maintains and enjoys with the ADB Pacific Subregional Office. In particular, ADB has helped improve critical infrastructure and access to basic services for many Fijians. This signals ADB’s ongoing commitment to help Fiji move its development agenda forward and achieve greater, inclusive socioeconomic prosperity."
Improving water and sanitation
A key feature of ADB’s partnership with Fiji has been to ensure the inhabitants of some of the country’s most densely populated areas have access to regular and safe piped water and an environment-friendly sewerage system. The Suva–Nausori Water Supply and Sewerage Project, which was approved in 2003, expanded water supply and sewage treatment services to about 330,000 people.
The ambitious project also improved the efficiency of urban water and sewerage services through the establishment of the Water Authority of Fiji, and upgraded the Waila and Tamavua water treatment plants and the Kinoya sewage treatment plant. About 50 km of new sewer pipelines were installed as part of the project. This provided sewer access for about 2,500 households.
Over the next 7 years, the project is expected to increase water supply by 40,000 cubic meters, and move the water intake 49 km upstream from the river mouth to reduce increasing saltwater intrusion. Wastewater treatment capacity will be doubled in the main Kinoya facility, and the sewerage network will reach an additional 4,500 households—mostly in poor urban areas.
Responding to disasters
In 2009, ADB stepped in to assist with the recovery from devastating floods. The Emergency Flood Recovery Project, the Fiji Flood Emergency Response Project, and the Fiji Flood Rehabilitation Project helped the government restore economic and social activities in affected areas to predisaster levels and ensured that new infrastructure would be more resistant to climate change.
When Tropical Cyclone Winston, the second most powerful storm on record, struck Fiji in February 2016, about 62% of the population was adversely affected and losses were estimated at $1.42 billion—equivalent to 31% of Fiji’s gross domestic product. The cyclone damaged 495 schools, 88 health facilities, disrupted basic public services, and destroyed crops and livelihoods. ADB responded with a $50 million assistance package to help those most in need and rebuild critical infrastructure.
This article was originally published in a special edition of Together We Deliver, which tells 50 stories highlighting the importance of good partnerships in Asia and the Pacific in meeting the complex development challenges of this dynamic region.