ADB in the Pacific

ADB works with the Pacific's 14 developing member countries to help build resilience against economic shocks, deliver sustainable services, and promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

ADB's Work in the Pacific

Recovery in tourism and infrastructure spending drove economic growth in the Pacific in 2023. Many tourism-dependent economies enjoyed a major rebound in international arrivals, while the region benefited broadly from a post-COVID-19 resurgence in public investment.

Growth in the Pacific will decline slightly in 2024 and pick up in 2025. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the region’s largest economy, growth is projected to accelerate in both 2024 and 2025, driven by increased mining activity. This will offset slowing expansion in Fiji, the second-largest economy, from the fading tourism recovery. In the rest of the region, growth will be sustained by tourism and stimulus from public infrastructure projects.

The Pacific’s vulnerability to disasters and climate events was starkly evident in 2023. Cyclones that hit Vanuatu in March and October damaged homes and essential infrastructure, and caused significant losses in agriculture and tourism. In Kiribati, a state of emergency was declared as drought depleted fresh water reserves and caused widespread crop damage.

ADB committed $252.9 million for its Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) in 2023, including $100.2 million in climate finance. The bank also committed new funding for contingent disaster financing and repurposed $80 million in Asian Development Fund grants as additional financing for critical infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, ADB introduced more-favorable concessional lending terms for small island developing states (SIDS) to help reduce future debt-servicing obligations. In January 2023, the Cook Islands was reclassified from a group C to a group B country, giving it access to ADB concessional financing.

ADB’s field presence in Niue was enhanced in 2023 with the appointment of a national coordination officer. In the Marshall Islands, ADB’s Pacific Country Office in Majuro was officially opened.

Addressing Poverty

In 2023, ADB invested significantly in improved health and care facilities and services to reduce inequalities in its Pacific DMCs.

In Tonga, medical treatment and hospitalization of older people creates a serious financial burden for low-income households. To ease this burden, ADB committed an $11.5 million grant to provide high-quality integrated health and care services in four community-based day care centers for older people.

To deliver better health outcomes for vulnerable communities in Kiribati, ADB provided a $27 million grant for the new Betio Hospital in South Tarawara. The project will fund about 50 new hospital beds, an emergency department, operating and procedure rooms, and other critical equipment and services. It will also see the hospital relocated to an elevated site to avoid climate risks such as coastal storm surges and sea-level rise.

Working to similarly reduce health inequality in PNG, ADB committed a $35 million loan that will further expand the country’s rural health services. The additional financing will help build a new district hospital, servicing around 80,000 people, and establish a national reference laboratory to improve disease surveillance and response.

By the Numbers: 2023 Operations

$252.9 million

Committed

$270.3 million

Disbursed

$107.9 million

Cofinanced


Source: ADB Annual Report 2023

Gender Equality

Gender Equality in the Pacific

ADB helped advance gender equality across the Pacific in 2023 by investing to improve secondary education for girls and sharing knowledge on women’s economic empowerment.

In Solomon Islands, girls are disadvantaged by norms that favor boys’ participation in education, and by inappropriate sanitation facilities in secondary schools. ADB committed $45 million to improve senior secondary education through teaching that challenges harmful gender norms, preparing female teachers for leadership and management roles, and constructing gender-sensitive amenities.

ADB is also helping assess the factors that hinder women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific.

The bank conducted a literature review on conditions for women’s entrepreneurship and ownership of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Pacific DMCs. The review found significant gaps in laws mandating equal pay and prohibiting sexual harassment, and in childcare policies and availability.

A lack of financial knowledge is another driver of gender inequality in Pacific DMCs. In response, ADB provided training on digital financial literacy, business planning, debt management, and e-commerce for 226 women entrepreneurs across Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

As additional support for women entrepreneurs in Fiji, ADB published a study outlining ways financial institutions can increase lending to the country’s female-led MSMEs.

Both the training and the study were delivered via ADB’s Women’s Finance Exchange, with funding support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

Climate Change

Climate Change in the Pacific

ADB’s proactive stance on climate change in the Pacific continued in 2023.

The bank committed $38 million for the fifth phase of the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program. Piloted in 2016, the program bolsters Pacific DMCs’ disaster risk management through fast-disbursing and flexible funding. The financing assisted Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tonga in responding to disasters triggered by natural hazards and health emergencies.

Under the emergency-oriented Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, ADB disbursed $1.5 million to help Vanuatu respond to Category 4 tropical cyclones in March and October. The grant helped restore essential services and provide humanitarian supplies to the most vulnerable communities.

In the Federated States of Micronesia, where climate change is exacerbating drought, ADB committed $18 million to further boost the climate resilience of water and sanitation services. The project will also help reduce transmission of waterborne diseases.

ADB also signed a $2 million grant, along with $5.8 million in cofinancing, to install a floating solar power system on the Funafuti Te Namo lagoon. The system, along with a solar rooftop installation, will increase the proportion of renewable energy in Funafuti’s grid from 16% to 57%.

Responding to requests from Pacific DMCs, ADB initiated technical assistance to accelerate development of clean energy transition plans. The plans aim to overcome factors such as fuel price volatility and supply chain disruptions.

ADB published a brief on using satellite technology to anticipate the impacts of disasters in climate-vulnerable countries. The brief discusses how satellite imagery combined with granular socioeconomic data can construct a “nowcasting” method for assessing damage and losses.

Livable Cities

To address urban livability issues common in Pacific DMCs, ADB initiated major technical assistance projects in 2023.

In PNG, the rapidly growing population in the capital Port Moresby is straining the city’s rudimentary transport services. ADB technical assistance is helping identify actions toward zero-emission public transport, safer travel for women and girls, improved air quality, and using plastic waste in road construction.

For Pacific DMCs as a whole, ADB is helping strengthen the climate resilience and operational sustainability of urban service providers. Through regional technical assistance, ADB is exploring ways to enable peer-to-peer knowledge exchange between utilities in different Pacific DMCs. This will foster more unified project planning, adoption of innovative technologies, and collaboration on increasing disaster resilience.

Rural Development and Food Security

In 2023, ADB prioritized the improvement of government capacity for sustainable river management that locks in the future productivity of agricultural lands.

The bank provided technical assistance for Solomon Islands to help sustain rural livelihoods by improving regulations to protect vital river ecosystems. The assistance is helping strengthen environmental planning laws and regulations, develop national guidelines on environmental flows, and enhance capacity to manage river resources.

Strengthening Governance

ADB utilized technical assistance, financial resources, and knowledge events to strengthen governance and institutional capacity in the Pacific during 2023.

In tandem with replenishing funds for its Pacific Disaster Resilience Program, new ADB technical assistance is strengthening disaster risk management in SIDS. This support is helping 10 Pacific SIDS address capacity gaps around disaster risk management, climate change, and health emergencies. It includes integrating national and local disaster risk management plans, promoting cooperation on early warning systems, and updating land use regulations and building codes.

In Kiribati, ADB committed a $5 million policy-based grant, and mobilized $17 million in cofinancing, for reforms to strengthen public financial management and fiscal sustainability. The program includes better monitoring of state-owned enterprises, legislation to improve tax administration and compliance, and support for Kiribati’s new fiscal reporting policy.

ADB technical assistance is similarly helping the Government of Nauru identify, implement, and embed fiscal sustainability reforms. The reforms focus on improving the financial performance and service delivery of state-owned enterprises and creating a more comprehensive social protection system.

In broader assistance on governance, ADB contributed significantly to the Palau Development Plan 2023–2026, which reflects increasing climate change and disaster impacts. ADB facilitated consultations across government and society, and provided direct support to draft, finalize, and implement the plan.

Regional Cooperation

To enhance cooperation and integration across the Pacific, ADB helped facilitate intercountry training and knowledge sharing on matters requiring urgent policy attention.

As part of its project to expand health services in PNG, a $7 million grant will finance training placements and workshop participation for staff from neighboring Pacific countries. This will contribute to the sharing of general health knowledge and collaboration on mitigating cross-border disease transmission. In addition, the national reference laboratory being established in PNG will strengthen the Pacific’s early detection of disease and drug resistance.

To scale up research in pressing policy areas including climate change and labor mobility, ADB co-hosted the Asian Think Tanks Network Forum 2023 in Suva, Fiji. Attracting representatives from governments and regional think tanks, the forum discussed critical influences on sustainable economic development across Pacific DMCs.

Experts

Leah Gutierrez
Leah Gutierrez

Director General

Contact

Pacific Department (PARD)

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tel +63 2 6324444
Fax +63 2 6362444

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

  Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074
E-mail

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074
E-mail

Pacific Department (PARD)

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines

Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +632 86325346
Fax +632 6362444
E-mail

Pacific Department (PARD)

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines

Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +632 86325346
Fax +632 6362444
E-mail

Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office (PLCO)

Level 20, 45 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW Australia 2000

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +61 2 8270 9444
Fax +61 2 8270 9445
E-mail

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074
E-mail

Pacific Department (PARD)

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines

Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +632 86325346
Fax +632 6362444
E-mail

Papua New Guinea Resident Mission (PNRM)

Level 2 – Burns Philp Haus, Corner of Musgrave Street & Champion Parade, PO Box 1992
Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +675 3221700
Fax +675 3210407
E-mail

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074
E-mail

Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office (PLCO)

Level 20, 45 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW Australia 2000

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +61 2 8270 9444
Fax +61 2 8270 9445
E-mail

Solomon Islands Pacific Country Office

Level 1, Heritage Park Commercial Building, Mendana Avenue, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074
E-mail

Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

5th Floor, Ra Marama Building, 91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +679 3318101
Fax +679 3318074
E-mail

Tuvalu Pacific Country Office

Partnership House, Vaiaku, Funafuti, Tuvalu

Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office (PLCO)

Level 20, 45 Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW Australia 2000

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Tel +61 2 8270 9444
Fax +61 2 8270 9445
E-mail

ADB Extended Mission - Vanuatu

P.O. Box 246 Level 5, RBV BLD Rue Emil Mercet, Port Vila, Vanuatu

Tel +678 20300
Fax +678 20320
E-mail