World Bank

New Vanuatu transport project will improve resilience to disasters, access to markets

The project involves the upgrade of the vital 65-kilometre South Santo Road, on Vanuatu’s second most-populated island of Espiritu Santo, to guard against potential climate impacts and natural disaster risks.

The project will significantly improve access to markets and essential services and contribute to faster, safer and more reliable road transport in Santo island.

Wider impacts will be felt across the country with 10 percent of Vanuatu’s total population to see benefits from the works and technical assistance.

Major boost for Disaster Risk Management in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is considered to be one of the countries most at risk to natural disasters in the world. The new World Bank operation, which provides US$10 million that can be activated in the event of a major disaster, is supporting reforms that will deliver stronger risk mitigation and prevention actions in Vanuatu. These reforms are helping to shift Vanuatu’s disaster risk management system from a focus on response/emergency management, to a greater emphasis on risk reduction, climate adaptation and longer-term recovery.

World Bank to prioritise climate change resilience in Pacific

Its vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, was in Tonga last week for talks.

Ms Kwakwa said the World Bank was working closely within Australia's Step Up and New Zealand's Pacific Reset programmes.

"We've been working on several things including supporting countries to strengthen their climate change resilience, working to support policy reforms to build their economic resilience and we're also working together on the connectivity agenda," Ms Kwakwa said.

"As you know, this region is very remote, even compared to other small island states."

World Bank advocates more participation for women in Seasonal Worker Programme

The Seasonal Worker Programme has employed 17,320 Pacific Islanders since 2012 and delivered approximately $US110 million in net income gains to the region.

The report, launched in Canberra, outlined a series of 11 Policy recommendations which would lead to greater benefits across the region from Australia's Seasonal Worker Programme.

The World Bank's Jesse Doyle said this included helping Pacific workers utilise cheaper ways of sending money home, increased participation for women and improved opportunities for countries with lower participation.

Tuvalu's international airport to be upgraded

The money would go towards repairs of the runway at Funafuti Airport, which was being damaged by water infiltration exacerbated by tidal and sea level impacts.

Several trial design solutions for the problem would be tried during this cyclone season.

The World Bank's Pacific country director, Michael Kerf, said it was imperative that Tuvalu's only international airport continues to function safely.

He said the project would help Tuvalu be resilient from the impacts of climate change.

World Bank optimistic about Pacific growth

The document, 'Pacific Possible', has been launched at the Pacific Islands Forum in Samoa.

The Bank said the document had been three years in the making, and was the culmination of extensive consultations with Pacific Island and Pacific Rim governments, non-governmental organisations, academics and individuals across the region.

It has identified tourism, fisheries, the knowledge economy and labour mobility as key areas offering opportunities.

The report also mentions deep sea mining, yet advises caution.

World Bank to establish regional office in Suva

Fiji welcomed this opportunity during the signing of the World Bank establishment agreement at the Prime Minister’s office Wednesday.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji is honoured to host the World Bank group.

Bainimarama says Fiji’s relationship with the World Bank is growing and its presence at home will benefit not only Fiji but neighbouring countries.

World Bank tries to make Pacific solar power decisions easier

At a regional energy summit in Samoa, the World Bank said it was detailing the potential for its online solar atlas, which gives interested parties the means to find where solar power potential is most concentrated.

World Bank approves funds for renewable energy project in Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project II (VREP II), which will be co-funded by the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Programme and the New Zealand government, aims to private nearly 9,000 homes and 37 public buildings – including community halls – with access to renewable energy.

World Bank to almost triple support to Pacific by 2019

The International Development Association, the bank's fund for the world's most in need countries, spent $US360 million in the Pacific in 2015 and this will increase this to $US900 million next year.

World Bank vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa announced the increase during a visit to Vanuatu over the weekend.

Ms Kwakwa says the bank’s entire Pacific island partners will benefit from the increase.