Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s annual meeting is taking place for the first time in Fiji.
Maria Carmela Locsin, the Director General of the Pacific Department said it sends a strong message about the importance of helping ADB’s clients and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
One of their major challenges is climate change.
“Effects of climate change in terms of their development prospects, how we help them to grow better and magnitude of financial and technical solutions we have to bring…we can only help to mitigate and reduce the risk since the risk cannot be controlled,” she said.
ADB and the government of Ireland have signed agreements to establish the Ireland Trust Fund for building climate change and disaster resilience in SIDS. The trust fund is committing to an initial six-year program of funding of 12 million euros (about 13.4 million U.S. dollars).
The fund is expecting to create more climate-friendly projects and climate resilience. “It is also helping the capacity of developments,” Locsin said. “It helps agencies to understand what that means, in terms of improving policy instruments, the planning instruments, the building codes as well as sharpening the capacity to respond to disasters.”
Private sector investment, in particular, is crucial in the Pacific area. Locsin said ADB recently endorsed a new program called Pacific Renewable Energy Program to provide financing support.
The program is providing credit enhancement to attract private capital and overcome constraints in renewable power projects in Pacific island countries. Locsin noted ADB wants to build a replicable case for urban and transport sectors across the region.