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There is a need to focus on the opportunities that are available for the Pacific Islands and smaller developing nations, says the president of the Asian Development Bank, Takehiko Nakao.
Speaking during the ADB president's press conference Thursday, Nakao said the 52nd ADB governor's meeting was an important one for the bank and the members because it gave the small developing islands the chance to showcase their challenges and opportunities to the larger countries.
Nakao had also held meetings with the civil society organisations and stressed the importance of including the CSOs in their projects and discussions.
He said each of the 15 members island states had their own set of challenges and the bank would pay attention to the special needs of these countries and allocate larger amounts of concessional support.
Nakao had met the representatives from the Developing Member Countries on Wednesday and said they now had the opportunity to highlight the unique development challenges and significant development progress throughout the region.
“During this Annual Meeting, the main message I want to share with you, as well as with other Governors, development partners, the private sector, and civil society, is that ADB is scaling up our operations in the Pacific,” he said.
Nakao said the ADB was in the process of implementing its Strategy 2030 and highlighted the various areas the strategy focused on.
He had earlier said that under ADB’s Strategy 2030, ADB will introduce differentiated approaches to development assistance in small island states and countries with fragile and conflict-affected situations, which included key areas such as climate change, disaster risk management, project preparation, procurement, and capacity building across the region.
In addition, the ADB is scaling up its financial support for the Pacific whereby in the past three years (2016–2018), the total lending and grant commitments amounted to US$1.5 billion as compared with US$700m in the previous three years (2013–2015).
Nakao said donors’ support contributed to an increase in the ADF, providing grant financing to ADB’s lowest income DMCs while annual base allocations were increased from $US6m toUS$13m for 2019 and 2020, an important boost in concessional financing for many countries in the Pacific.
Nakao said ADB would also do more to promote innovation in the Pacific. He said ADB’s Pacific Department pioneered the use of contingent lines of credit to provide financing for response and recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of disasters and confirmed that the ADB was also working with its Pacific DMCs to design innovative projects for renewable energy, water supply systems, regional vaccination programs, as well as to introduce new ICT applications in e-health, e-education, and e-governance.
He said to help attract private financing, the innovative use of guarantees under ADB’s new Pacific Renewable Energy Programme, approved in April, will reduce investment risks for independent power producers in the region.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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