Construction has begun on an almost $80 million project, co-financed by ADB, the Governments of Australia and Nauru, and the Green Climate Fund, to transform Nauru’s century-old Aiwo boat harbor into an efficient, reliable, and climate-resilient port.

Once completed, the new facility will be the country’s first fully functioning international port.

ADB is providing a $21.3 million grant for the project, which is expected to boost port operations significantly.


Aiwo, Nauru – It is often said that a seaport is the nerve of foreign trade of a country. Nowhere is this more true than in isolated Pacific island states like Nauru.

Nauru is a small Pacific island nation relying on its port for much of its international trade.

“Everything for the island comes through the port,” says Sean Oppenheimer, Managing Director of Capelle and Partner, a retail store and supermarket in Nauru.

“If you don’t have fuel for the plane, how can you provide fuel for our power station. The port is the lifeline.”

All islanders are well aware of the port’s strategic importance for Nauru’s economy.

“Nauru needs a new port because we rely on ships to bring in goods from overseas. for example, our school equipment, our food and clothes and many more,” comments Moriah Harris, a secondary school-student.

Nauru is now upgrading its only port in a major boost for the country’s economy.

The 111-year-old Aiwo boat harbor will be transformed into a modern, climate-resilient facility. The new facility will be Nauru’s first fully functioning international port.

The port upgrade is a necessary step in the direction of boosting the country’s economy as well as facing the challenges poised by climate change.

“Like all countries in the pacific, Nauru is subject to a number of climate changes. sea level rise, temperature changes. In the case of the nauru port those temperature changes are conspiring against the ability of that port to be viable in the future,” comments Jay Roop, a senior natural resource management specialist wit the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“What Nauru needs to do is completely change the way they manage ports. They need to make a transformational shift which in this case is an entirely new port.”

ADB is contributing a grant of $21.3 million towards the $79.59 million project.

The Governments of Australia (AU$18 million) and Nauru ($17 million), and the Green Climate Fund ($26.91 millions) are co-financing the project.

“I think partnership is foremost in a project like this because of the cost. it is a huge project for us. We cannot do it ourselves so we invite partners to come in,” says H.E. Baron Waqa, President of Nauru.

“The good thing about this is we try and have ADB involved and take a leading role in this to coordinate all our friends into this partnership arrangement."