Following talks in Canberra today, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Australian government have renewed their commitment to supporting Pacific island countries address many of the key challenges facing the region—including gender inequality, situations of fragility, economic and environmental vulnerability—and promote greater resilience throughout the region.
They pledged strong collaboration across development projects and analytical work, as well as an increased presence throughout the Pacific islands region.
“The World Bank, ADB and the Australian Government have, for many years, had a strong partnership built on shared values and a track record of results-oriented, outcome-driven work in the Pacific Islands,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific. “This renewed commitment to collaboration and cross-partner support will bring together the collective resources of our three institutions to support the key challenges and development objectives of Pacific Island countries.”
“ADB, the World Bank, and the Australian Government have established a solid foundation of cooperation built on a shared interest and vision which provides the basis for a strong and lasting collaboration for future development work,” said Stephen P. Groff, ADB Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. “By working together, we can use our comparative strengths and reduce vulnerabilities to help Asia and the Pacific reduce poverty and work toward the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“The strengthened partnerships between Australia and the development banks will benefit Pacific countries by ensuring that the resources and specialist expertise available to the region is focussed on countries’ highest development priorities,” said Australian Senator The Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific. “Australia will continue to seek opportunities for collaborating on and financing of development programs in the Pacific to promote sustainable development and economic growth.”
As part of the commitment, each partner acknowledged the importance of supporting the priorities under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism approved in the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in 2014, which articulates the vision, values, and objectives of enhanced Pacific regionalism, and adopts the good principles and practice of international development. They also agreed to meet annually to review their portfolio of projects and programs, country situations, and plan future activities to ensure alignment with the Pacific island country priorities.
The World Bank works in partnership with 13 countries across the Pacific Islands, including Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, with 68 projects currently underway across a range of sectors, including agriculture and fisheries, climate change and disaster risk reduction, education, employment, energy, health, information and communications technology, roads and transport, as well as policy advisory and institutional reform.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totalled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.
Australia’s aid program is centred on the Indo-Pacific and contributes to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. The World Bank and the ADB are two of Australia’s most important multilateral development partners. We leverage their expertise, scale and geographic reach to deliver outcomes that we could not achieve alone.