Ireland has provided more than $130 million in support since joining the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as a non-regional member in 2006. In recent years, that support has begun to focus on the Pacific and helping the region’s 14 developing member countries (DMCs) build resilience against the threat of climate change. April 2019 saw the formation of the Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). As of December 2020, Ireland had provided $1 million each in technical assistance to the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program (PDRP) and Strengthening Social Protection in the Pacific (SSPP), totaling $2 million.
The PDRP supports disaster risk management in DMCs, by strengthening the resilience of institutions and communities in the face of disaster risks triggered by natural hazards. In recent years, those threats have had a profound impact on the region.
In 2018, Tonga was battered by the most powerful cyclone to directly hit the main island of Tongatapu and nearby ‘Eua in more than three decades. Within three days of Cyclone Gita’s lashing, ADB responded to Tonga’s immediate needs through the PDRP.
Similarly, in 2020, following the damage brought by Tropical Cyclone Tino to Tuvalu, ADB helped fund Tuvalu’s priority early recovery activities and life-saving services through the PDRP.
The SSPP also aims to assist Pacific DMCs in responding to COVID-19 and other climate- and disaster-related shocks by expanding social protection systems to promote sustainable support for the vulnerable through social insurance, social assistance, and labor market programs.
Ireland’s Single-Donor Trust Fund
What is the Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States?
The Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is a single-partner trust fund that aims to help increase SIDS resilience to disasters caused by natural hazards, and to the impacts of climate change. The fund also aims to help increase investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation among the SIDS.
The Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is the first single-donor trust fund financed by Ireland. Announced at ADB’s Annual Meeting in Fiji in 2019—the first ever to be hosted by a Pacific DMC—the fund provides technical assistance and capacity development in the Pacific’s 14 SIDS countries. Ireland committed €12 million ($13.5 million) to support SIDS in responding to climate change and disaster resilience challenges. Two years on, the fund has already had an impact helping to strengthen resilience for many countries especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change and natural disasters.
SIDS are among the areas of focus for Ireland’s current development policy “A Better World”. The policy outlines the country’s international development priorities and focuses on reaching those furthest behind and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, prioritizing gender equality, reducing humanitarian need, climate action, and strengthening governance.
In a previous interview, Ireland’s Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D., highlighted the significance of Ireland’s partnership with ADB in furthering support to Pacific SIDS.
“On its own, our trust fund can only make a small dent in the problems faced by the small island developing states,” said Mr. Brophy. “What Ireland wants to see is significant private capital flowing into the small islands so they can build resilience against storms or sea level rises and make progress in converting to green energy, green transport, and so on. It is through good partners, like the ADB, that this can be achieved.”