NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA (15 March 2023) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Tonga today signed a $10 million grant agreement to help the country expedite its recovery from disasters and health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agreement was signed by Tonga’s Minister of Finance Tiofilusi Tiueti and ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office Regional Director Aaron Batten. The grant was approved by ADB on 7 March. 

“When disaster strikes, quick disbursing finance is needed to help Tonga rapidly respond to a disaster,” Mr. Tiueti said. “This program delivers help to Tongan people at a time when they need it most.”

“The program is helping the government respond and transition from crisis to resilient economic and fiscal recovery, by implementing reforms over four phases, including supporting early recovery from disasters,” Mr. Batten said.

The ADB support comes from the fourth phase of the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program. Tonga and three other countries are included in the fourth phase of the program after making strong progress in building the resiliency of their institutions.  

Tonga is highly vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards and health crises. ADB’s support to the Pacific under previous phases of the program has helped strengthen policy and legislative arrangements to help the countries manage climate and health disasters.

Reforms under phase 4 of the program are focused on: policy and institutional arrangements for risk management and strategic use of climate and disaster risk change and health emergencies, climate and disaster risk information and actions that strengthen health systems, and the access to and strategic use of climate and disaster risk financing.     

The Pacific Disaster Resilience Program is financed by a $5 million concessional loan from ADB's ordinary capital resources and a $33 million grant from the Asian Development Fund,(ADF). The ADF provides grants to ADB’s poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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