Our Work

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 7 million. The region also supports valuable fisheries that are critical to local livelihoods and the global food supply. Yet the islands’ very existence is threatened by global climate change, natural disasters, infectious diseases and governance challenges that undermine stability.

USAID assistance in the Pacific Island 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; sup-ports disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Republic of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia; assists the government and civil society in Papua New Guinea to expand HIV prevention, care and treatment; and empowers women and builds the capacity of civil society organizations to strengthen peace and security in post-conflict Bougainville, an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea.

  • USAID helped 137 communities across nine Pacific Island countries become more resilient in the face of a changing climate.
  • USAID projects facilitated trauma counselling for more than 1,700 individuals in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, nearly one-third of whom were victims of family and sexual violence.
  • USAID supported the opening of new HIV prevention, care, support and treatment sites serving nearly 4,000 people in Papua New Guinea’s capital.


USAID bolsters the human and institutional capacity of Pacific Island communities, civil society, governments and regional institutions to adapt to the negative effects of climate change. At the community level, climate change activities serve as models for replication and scale-up by national governments, regional institutions, and other donors and stakeholders. U.S. assistance supports climate proofing of community infrastructure, disaster preparedness and innovative adaptation measures undertaken by civil society organizations. At the national and regional levels, assistance strengthens the capacity of governments and regional institutions to develop and implement effective climate change adaptation policies and strategies. To increase the reach and effectiveness of our assistance across the region, we implement climate change projects through a number of partnerships, including with the U.S. Peace Corps, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and other donor countries, such as New Zealand and Germany. USAID has the lead responsibility for disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Marshall Islands under the Compacts of Free Association. USAID’s disaster assistance in these countries complements climate change measures that help the two countries prepare for the effects of natural disasters.


Papua New Guinea suffers from one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific Islands. While overall adult prevalence is nearly 1 percent, HIV infection rates are much higher among the most at-risk populations, including female sex workers and men who have sex with men. In partnership with the National Department of Health, USAID addresses Papua New Guinea’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by supporting a continuum-of-care model that links prevention, care, support and treatment services for people vulnerable to, living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS. USAID builds on this successful model by delivering HIV/AIDS services to 12,500 most at-risk people, as well as by linking those affected by gender-based violence — a key contributing factor to women’s vulnerability to HIV infection — to support services.


USAID advances the United States’ foreign policy goal of strengthening democratic institutions in the Pacific region. USAID helps the Autonomous Region of Bougainville achieve sustainable peace, security and development progress by increasing the capacity of civil society organizations to address major social issues that have resulted from conflict, including trauma and gender-based violence. USAID is also raising awareness on an upcoming referendum that will determine the future political status of Bougainville, and we are promoting women’s participation in politics and conflict mitigation.

Learn more

Pacific Islands Regional Profile [PDF]

Last updated: March 31, 2016

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