Australia is a founding member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which was established in 1966. For more than five decades, ADB and Australia have been partners in providing assistance to the bank’s members through cofinanced programs and projects. From January 2014 to December 2020, Australia has cofinanced more than $216 million in grants and technical assistance for Pacific projects, which have brought significant impact to the region.
Through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia funds development work in the Pacific that supports infrastructure; trade facilitation and international competitiveness; agriculture, fisheries, and water; governance; education; health; building resilience; measures to address climate change; gender equality and empowering women and girls.
DFAT is also a founding partner of the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) and has been a major contributing partner since PRIF’s establishment in 2008. PRIF is an investment coordination and technical assistance facility that supports the planning, prioritization, coordination, and management of infrastructure in the Pacific. In 2019, DFAT provided more than $4 million in knowledge and support technical assistance that will aid the PRIF coordination office for another four years, or until October 2023.
Australia has supported the Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Connectivity Project with a $14.1 million grant. The project will improve port operations in Nauru by building a wharf, breakwater, and a berth pocket at Aiwo; reconstructing port buildings and the container storage area; and strengthening the institutional capacity of Nauru’s Port Authority.
Private sector support
Along with New Zealand and ADB, Australia also cofinances the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), which was founded in 2007 and provides advisory and capacity-building assistance to improve the business environments in Pacific developing member countries. This, in turn, supports inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.
Australia provided an additional $22.6 million technical assistance for Phase IV of PSDI, which will build on will build on PSDI Phase III’s achievements across six core areas: access to finance; business law reform; state-owned enterprise reform; public-private partnerships; competition and consumer protection; and the economic empowerment of women.
In 2020 alone, Australia contributed $106 million to trust funds benefitting ADB members. One such fund is the Australian Climate Finance Partnership (ACFP), which is a stand-alone, ADB-managed, single-donor trust fund supported by DFAT. Established in May 2020, the ACFP is a concessional financing facility designed to catalyze financing for nonsovereign or private sector climate adaptation and mitigation projects in eligible countries in the Pacific, as well Southeast Asia.
Improving health services
Australia provided $38 million to support the Health Services Sector Development Program in Papua New Guinea (PNG), which has one of the lowest life expectancy and highest maternal and child mortality rates among Pacific island countries. The program aims to strengthen health services through policy reforms and direct investments in PNG’s health systems. Australia has also provided co- financing to the Rural Primary Health Services Delivery project of a total of 57.7 million to strengthen service delivery in rural PNG.
To ensure PNG’s increased access to improved water and sanitation services, Australia also provided $738,000 under the Support for Water and Sanitation Sector Management program. The program aims to support the effective implementation of PNG’s national water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) policy, which has now become even more crucial in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Australia also provided $390,000 in additional financing to supporting public sector management reforms to continue public sector management reforms in the Pacific as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Established in June 2020, the program will provide targeted assistance in specialized areas including economic modelling, revenue diversification, fiscal adjustment plans, and economic recovery road maps in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
To learn more about ADB and Australia’s partnership, visit ADB's Partnership Report 2020.