The Pacific Islands region is home to over 8.5 million people, major fisheries, coral reefs and important tropical forests. The islands are culturally diverse, with more than 1,000 languages spoken and national populations ranging from less than 10,000 to more than six million. The region’s varied topography includes mountainous islands and low-lying coral atolls.
USAID assistance in the Pacific Islands region covers 12 nations: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. USAID focuses on issues that provide the greatest socio-economic support to Pacific Island nations: environment and climate change adaptation, health, and democracy. USAID closely collaborates with Pacific Island governments, regional organizations, bilateral and multilateral donors, private sector, and civil society organizations to ensure that our assistance yields the highest impact by incorporating lessons learned and best practices from around the world.
Environment and Global Climate Change
The Pacific Island nations are among the most vulnerable in the world to the adverse effects of climate change but the least able to respond. USAID increases the capacity of communities, civil society, governments and regional institutions to address the negative effects of global climate change.
USAID is building the resiliency of coastal communities in the region to withstand more intense and frequent weather events and ecosystem degradation in the short term, and sea-level rise in the long term. USAID works to (1) rehabilitate or construct new, small-scale community infrastructure; (2) improve community engagement for disaster prevention and preparedness; and (3) integrate climate-resilient policies and practices into long-term land use plans and building standards. USAID provides training for community-based, sustainable mangrove forest management and mangrove reforestation.
USAID strengthens the technical and scientific capacity of local universities and public institutions to conduct forest carbon monitoring, reporting and verification. We also partner with educational institutions in the Pacific to strengthen the cadre of qualified engineers and technicians to design, install, operate, maintain and repair solar energy equipment.
USAID is engaged in a variety of partnerships with key institutions, donors, and organizations in the region. For example, we work with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to strengthen food security among farming communities in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. USAID also supports the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program to improve the resilience of water resources in Kiribati and promote healthy ecosystems in the Solomon Islands. USAID works with New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to increase the climate resilience of landfills and improve the capacity of local governments to manage collection, recycling and solid disposal programs in Kiribati.
USAID collaborates with the U.S. Peace Corps to (1) promote environmental awareness, knowledge and skills among the youth to become responsible resource stewards; (2) build the capacity of communities for adaptation to climate change and for disaster risk reduction (DRR); and (3) implement small-scale community projects that demonstrate climate change and DRR principles in Vanuatu and Fiji. This collaboration will expand to other Pacific Island countries where Peace Corps volunteers are present.
USAID has the lead responsibility for disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction for the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Marshall Islands under the Compact of Free Association, and supports their ability to anticipate and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.
USAID helps address Papua New Guinea’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. Prevention, outreach, care and treatment services are provided in homes, communities and health facilities. USAID developed and initially implemented this model in Papua New Guinea, and it is now the model of excellence for HIV efforts in the country. In addition, the program provides referrals for those affected by gender-based violence to support services. USAID also provides assistance on neglected tropical diseases. All health projects work in partnership with the National Department of Health.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
USAID strengthens democratic institutions in Papua New Guinea by helping develop the capacity of political parties to formulate issue-based platforms, reach out to their constituents, and improve transparency. USAID has also provided support to Fiji’s Constitutional Commission to ensure a participatory and credible constitutional development process.
Last updated: October 28, 2013