The Pacific Island nations are rich in culture, history and biodiversity. More than 1,000 languages are spoken and national populations range from less than 10,000 to more than six million. The region contains some of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world, supporting valuable fisheries that are critical to local livelihoods and global supply.
USAID assistance in the Pacific Islands region covers 12 nations: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, PNG, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
USAID supports programs that assist the Pacific Island nations adapt to the negative impacts of global climate change and environmental degradation; provide disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Republic of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia; help the government in PNG expand HIV prevention, care and treatment models; build the capacity of women’s organizations in post-conflict Bougainville, PNG and support voter education in Fiji.
Environment and Global Climate Change
USAID increases the capacity of Pacific Island communities, civil society, governments and regional institutions to address the negative effects of global climate change. USAID is building the resiliency of more than 120 coastal communities across the Pacific to cope with more intense and frequent weather events and ecosystem degradation in the short term, and sea-level rise in the long term. USAID is also providing grants to civil society organizations to support climate resilience projects that provide “co-benefits” or solutions to other development challenges, such as livelihood enhancement, improved health, food security, water availability, ecosystem conservation and better governance. USAID further supports the region’s transition to low emission development by promoting sustainable forest management and improving the sustainability of clean energy investments. USAID also has the lead responsibility for disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in FSM and RMI under the Compact of Free Association. USAID’s disaster assistance in these countries complements climate change efforts to support their ability to anticipate and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.
USAID is engaged in a number of partnerships to implement climate change projects, including with the U.S. Peace Corps, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to ensure the effectiveness of development programs and increase the reach of USAID’s assistance across the region.
PNG suffers from the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific Islands region. While overall adult prevalence is at nearly 1 percent, HIV infection rates are much higher among most at-risk populations. Prevalence among female sex workers is 5.9 percent and 4.3 percent among males who have sex with males. In partnership with the National Department of Health, USAID helps address PNG’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by supporting a well-coordinated network that links prevention, care, support and treatment services for people vulnerable to, living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. USAID developed and initially implemented this model in PNG; it is now a model of excellence for HIV efforts in the country. USAID continues to build on this successful model, working to provide HIV/AIDS services to 12,500 most at-risk people over the next five years as well as referrals to support services for those affected by gender-based violence, a key factor in the spread of HIV infection in PNG. USAID also provides assistance on neglected tropical diseases.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
USAID seeks opportunities to support the USG’s high priority policy goal to strengthen democratic institutions in the Pacific region. In Papua New Guinea, USAID strengthens prospects for peace and security in post-conflict Bougainville by building the capacity of women’s organizations to address major social issues, including violence and conflict. In Fiji, USAID will contribute to free, fair, honest and credible elections in 2014 by supporting voter education.
Last updated: October 30, 2014