Today, Administrator Samantha Power announced USAID's significant investments to provide life-saving assistance in response to current humanitarian crises, facilitate greater access to clean energy for thousands of Papua New Guineans, help build capacity to prepare for future natural disasters – especially as the effects of the climate crisis intensify, and strengthen the country’s health sector that was strained by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following USAID initiatives were announced:
Opening of USAID Country Representative Office: Building on more than 45 years of partnership, USAID is delivering on President Biden’s 2022 promise at the historic U.S.-Pacific Islands Summit to increase our presence throughout the region and work together to advance the economic and social development goals of our partners. USAID will increase its staff presence in-country, including more locally employed Pacific Islanders, to support efforts to become more agile, impactful, and efficient in delivering sustainable results in line with our partners’ economic and social development priorities. With this new Country Representative Office, USAID will be better placed to expand and invest in its relationships with the governments and local partners of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu so that we can better listen, partner, and deliver sustainable development results.
$5.2 million in new humanitarian assistance to support preparedness and respond to ongoing volcanic activity:
- Of which, $3.5 million will support inclusive community-based disaster risk management programs, as well as capacity building for local and provincial governments to prepare for and respond to disasters.
- $1.2 million will support efforts to combat severe and acute malnutrition in Papua New Guinea.
- At the request of the Government of Papua New Guinea, in consultation with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), USAID is providing $500,000 to support the emergency response to the eruption of Mount Bagana volcano. The funding will support our partners, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to provide emergency food assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene support, distribute emergency shelter kits and other relief commodities, support protection assistance for women and children, provide logistical support to deliver essential relief items, and manage camps for internally displaced persons, as ongoing volcanic activity continues to restrict people’s access to food and water and prevent families from returning home.
- IOM has already provided four water tanks and 127 collapsible water containers – prepositioned through an existing USAID-funded program – to the displaced communities to improve access to drinkable water and deployed a public health specialist to conduct health assessments.
$1.2 million to power solar mini grids through USAID’s EDGE Fund: USAID will invest an additional $1.2 million to establish a solar mini-grid system in Papua New Guinea’s Central province in partnership with WEnergy Global, a clean energy company. The mini-grid will connect at least 800 households and 30 businesses to electricity, thereby improving energy access for at least 4,800 people. This award is part of USAID’s EDGE Fund, a seed fund designed to leverage the private sector’s expertise in confronting some of the world’s most significant development challenges of our time. The EDGE will catalyze investments from the private sector in off-grid areas and support the government of Papua New Guinea’s goal of connecting 70 percent of the population to electricity by 2030 and advance climate change objectives in the Pacific Islands.
Additional programs and resources to support global health security in the Pacific Islands: USAID is also providing an additional $1 million to strengthen Papua New Guinea’s oxygen and laboratory ecosystems and COVID-19 surveillance capacity.
Strengthening the response to HIV/AIDs: USAID will build on the success of its interventions in Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District, working with the Global Fund, to begin scaling HIV activities to other high-burden provinces.
Administrator Power’s trip marks a trio of high-level Cabinet-level visits to Papua New Guinea within four months – following Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.