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 6 million. The region also contains some of the most biodiverse ma-rine ecosystems in the world, supporting valuable fisheries that are critical to local livelihoods and the global food supply. Yet the islands’ very existence is threatened by global climate change, and natural disasters, infectious disease and govern-ance challenges undermine stability.
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 helps the Pacific Island nations adapt to and ease the negative impacts of global climate change and environmental degradation; pro-vides disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Republic of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia; helps the government in Papua New Guinea expand HIV prevention, care and treatment models; builds the capacity of women’s organizations in post-conflict Bougainville, Papua New Guinea; and supports civic education in Fiji.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT
USAID increases the capacity of Pacific Island communities, civil society, governments and regional institutions to address and mitigate the negative effects of climate change. Across the region, USAID is strengthening the resilience of more than 120 coastal communities to cope with more intense and frequent weather events and ecosystem degradation in the short term, as well as sea-level rise in the long term. USAID provides grants to civil society organizations to support climate re-silience projects that also help advance other development goals, such as livelihood enhancement and improved health and governance. To increase the reach and effectiveness of our assistance across the region, we implement climate change pro-jects through a number of partnerships, including with the Peace Corps, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Sec-retariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. USAID has the lead responsibility for disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Re-public of Marshall Islands under the Compact of Free Association. USAID’s disaster assistance in these countries comple-ments climate change efforts to support their ability to anticipate and mitigate the effects of natural disasters. Through its regional programs, USAID also supports the region’s transition to low emission development by promoting sustainable forest management and improving the sustainability of clean energy investments.
Papua New Guinea 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 the most at-risk populations, including female sex workers (5.9 percent) and men who have sex with men (4.3 percent). In partnership with the National Department of Health, USAID helps address Papua New Guinea’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by supporting a well-coordinated network that links pre-vention, care, support and treatment services for people vulnerable to, living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. USAID devel-oped and initially implemented this model in Papua New Guinea, where it has become the gold-standard for HIV efforts. 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 the country. USAID also provides assistance to address neglected tropical diseases.
DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOVERNANCE
USAID supports the United States’ foreign policy goal of strengthening democratic institutions in the Pacific region. In Pa-pua New Guinea, USAID strengthens peace and security in post-conflict Bougainville by building the capacity of women’s organizations to address major social issues, including gender-based violence and conflict. In Fiji, USAID has supported the country’s democratic transition by providing voter education, election observation assistance and civic education.
Last updated: February 13, 2015