Tuvalu Gets Big Boost for Fiscal, Infrastructure and Social Resilience
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 13, 2019 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$7.5 million in grant support to Tuvalu to strengthen the management of the country’s public finances, improve the resilience of infrastructure, and meet the needs of people with disabilities. This operation is closely aligned the Tuvalu National Strategy for Sustainable Development —Te Kakeega III 2016-2020 — and will support government efforts to strengthen fiscal sustainability, including through improved purchasing procedures that will bolster the integrity and transparency of government procurement.
The operation will also support key improvements to the Pacific Island country’s social protection systems, particularly for Tuvaluans living with a disability. This includes support for a new Tuvalu National Policy for Disability that will strengthen disability inclusion, especially for women and girls, and improve systems to support people with a disability in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. “The World Bank plays a vital role in Tuvalu’s efforts to strengthen fiscal sustainability through undertaking various policy reform measures, including public financial management and procurement,” said Tuvalu’s Minister for Finance, the Hon. Seve Paeniu. “This is on top of the World Bank’s support to improving the resilience of key infrastructure across various sectors of the economy.”
In addition, the operation will strengthen the disaster and climate resilience of key buildings and infrastructure across Tuvalu, including schools, homes, medical facilities, roads, ports and coastal protection through improved asset management and building codes. Improvements to Tuvalu’s building codes aim to prevent the loss of critical infrastructure and reduce the risk of major shocks to Tuvalu’s economy. In 2015, Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam, for example, caused an estimated US$10 million (AU$14 million) in damages – the equivalent of more than 30 percent of Tuvalu’s GDP.
“Building resilience is at the heart of our support to Tuvalu,” said Michel Kerf, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “We are pleased to support the government’s efforts to deliver more stability to the economy, make the country’s most critical infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and ensure that more Tuvaluans, particularly those living with a disability, can access the health and social support they need, when they need it.”
The operation consists of a US$7.5 million grant, with a further US$6 million grant as part of a Catastrophe-Deferred Drawdown Option, which can be activated in the event of a major disaster or emergency. Both grants are from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the most in-need countries. The operation also benefits from technical assistance from the ADB and the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the European Union (EU).
With the addition of this new operation, the World Bank currently has six active projects in Tuvalu totaling US$106 million in commitments across sectors including aviation and transport, climate resilience, energy and electricity, fisheries and telecommunications.