Speeches Shim

Pacific Islands Environment

USAID bolsters the human and institutional capacity of Pacific Island communities, civil society, governments and regional institutions to mitigate the impacts of, and prepare for, natural disasters. USAID's community-level projects serve as models for replication and scale-up by national governments, regional institutions and other donors and stakeholders. U.S. assistance supports reinforcement of community infrastructure, disaster risk reduction and innovative resilience measures undertaken by civil society organizations. At the national and regional levels, USAID strengthens the capacity of governments and regional institutions to develop and implement effective environmental and disaster mitigation policies and strategies. USAID assistance fortifies the capability of governments and regional institutions to gain global funding to boost their disaster mitigation and preparedness, ultimately reducing the cost of future disaster response and recovery. USAID implements projects through partnerships to increase the reach and effectiveness of our assistance. Some of our partners include U.S. Peace Corps, the Pacific Community and other donor countries, such as New Zealand, Australia and Germany. USAID has the lead responsibility for disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands under the Compacts of Free Association. USAID’s disaster assistance in these two countries complements resilience measures that help them better prepare for and mitigate the impacts of natural disasters.


Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response (PREPARE)
More than 155,000 people living in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are vulnerable to disasters related to severe weather. Under the Compacts of Free Association between the governments of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, USAID supports disaster management and reconstruction for these countries. USAID helped island communities establish customized disaster management plans. USAID also trained 377 government and nongovernmental partners to improve community resilience. In 2015, Typhoon Maysak destroyed houses, crops and public infrastructure in the Federated States of Micronesia’s Chuuk and Yap States. In response, USAID expedited delivery of emergency and reconstruction assistance. To date, USAID has trained over 1,500 Micronesians to help complete repairs or reconstruction of 422 new houses and 153 public buildings, such as schools, clinics and community centers. USAID also distributed approximately $2.8 million in vouchers to help typhoon survivors rebuild their homes and replace lost materials.

Disaster Resilience in the Compact Nations (RESILIENCE)
RESILIENCE will increase governance capacity for disaster management and expedite the delivery of preparedness, relief and reconstruction assistance to respond to U.S. presidentially declared disasters in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. RESILIENCE will provide technical assistance and training to increase the disaster preparedness and management capacity. It will maintain prepositioned assets, such as emergency supplies and electrical generators, and deliver those and other resources for life-saving and early recovery assistance. A well-established, pre-positioned structure will help jumpstart relief distribution. The project will also deliver a package of culturally appropriate reconstruction assistance in the event of declared disasters. The activity will increasingly shift responsibilities for response and reconstruction to the host governments over the five-year implementation period to help advance the path to self-reliance.

Energy Regulatory Partnership Program (ERPP)
The activity supports the USAID-PNG Electrification Partnership (PEP) objective of strengthening energy regulatory capacity. Support serves as a bridging activity until the larger USAID-PEP project starts. Through the project, USAID supports PNG in 1) developing a competitive power procurement processes; 2) creating a regulatory framework for off-grid electrification; 3) improving safety and technical management; and 4) enhancing capacity for tariff review and pricing. This activity will also support PNG’s participation in regional training events through the USAID Asia Gas Partnership activity.

Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC)
ISACC boosts government capacity to manage their climate finances more effectively, promotes regional coordination, and builds multi-sectoral approaches to climate resilience. ISACC’s key results to date include support for training courses to strengthen climate finance, public financial management, and monitoring and evaluation; helping national governments develop important climate change laws, policies and regulations; supporting the recruitment of key climate staff in various countries; and completing climate change and disaster risk finance assessments for a number of countries, which are now better equipped to build harmonized national plans and priorities and strengthen public financial management systems that are relevant and sustainable. ISACC also supported the accreditation of Tuvalu’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as a National Implementing Entity of the Adaptation Fund. Tuvalu is the second country in the Pacific, after the Cook Islands to receive accreditation to the Adaptation Fund.

Lukautim Graun "Look After the Environment"
The Lukautim Graun project will reduce threats to Papua New Guinea’s rich biodiversity, which is among the most threatened in the world. At the national level, we will help promote transparent policies, including environmental safeguards, for effective stewardship of natural resources. At the site level, USAID will preserve biodiversity in priority places by supporting local governments, civil society, and communities to reduce key threats.

The project is also a recipient of the Women’s Global Development Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). This component, in conjunction with our Women’s Business Resource Center run by The Center for International Private Enterprise, will equip women entrepreneurs with the skills to run businesses, particularly in natural resource-based industries. It will employ a whole family-based approach that creates support for women’s business initiatives among men in their communities.

The Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans)
* Managed by USAID/RDMA
Unsustainable fishing practices threaten biodiversity, food security and livelihoods of more than 200 million people in Southeast Asia. The USAID Oceans project helps to develop a transparent and financially sustainable system that documents and traces catches to verify if fish are legally caught and properly labeled. The system harnesses the latest science, technology and innovation so that marine resources are caught and accounted for according to national laws. To maximize the system’s effectiveness, USAID Oceans promotes collaboration among regional stakeholders.

Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM)
Civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Pacific often do not have sufficient funding and management capacity to respond to challenges caused by climate change. PACAM awards grants to CSOs in Pacific countries to implement and scale up climate-resilient, community-level adaptation measures. PACAM also awards grants to CSOs in Papua New Guinea to strengthen natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. PACAM grants enable programming that improves livelihoods, food and water security, and governance in the Pacific Islands. PACAM guides CSOs throughout the life of the grant and helps them comply with USAID reporting procedures. In this manner, CSOs “learn by doing” and improve their proficiency in grant management. This positions them to replicate their projects, collaborate with other organizations and engage in public-private partnerships. The project has awarded 28 grants totaling $11 million that support locally driven and innovative initiatives in the forestry, fisheries, agriculture and biodiversity conservation sectors.

Sector Reform and Utility Commercialization (SRUC) Task Order
The activity supports the USAID-PNG Electrification Partnership (PEP) objective of strengthening the financial and technical capacity of PNG Power Limited (PPL). SRUC will support strengthening of PPL’s retail division, especially their engagement with large commercial and industrial customers that account for 70% of PPL’s revenues. Support areas include: 1) Review and improve PPL’s commercial and industrial customer database; 2) Strengthen PPL’s meter management and billing; 3) Support PPL’s commercial and industrial customer segmentation; and 4) Develop a customer engagement strategy ahead of smart meter rollout for commercial and industrial customers.

Climate Ready
Due to extreme variations in climate, Pacific Island countries are experiencing sea level rise, increasing frequency and intensity of droughts and storms, ocean acidification and consequent damage to coral reefs and fisheries. Many governments within the Pacific region have requested additional support to address these issues. USAID’s Ready project is helping Pacific Island countries to become more environmentally and disaster resilient to protect the lives and livelihoods of their peoples. The project works with government partners and other stakeholders to draft and implement policies to achieve adaptation goals; access larger amounts of financing from international adaptation funds; and improve the skills and systems within each country to better manage and monitor adaptation projects. To date, Ready has helped Pacific Islands countries mobilize $26.7 million from various international funds. Ready has also helped prepare bankable project proposals valued at $147.8 million that have been submitted as final applications to the Global Environment Facility. Ready is further working on additional proposals that will target to access more than $280 million for programs in the Pacific Islands. Ready also supported the Pacific Community’s accreditation so that it could directly access the Green Climate Fund (GCF), thereby joining the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme as the Pacific’s only other regional accredited entity to the GCF. Ready also worked with the Fiji Development bank, the first in the region to become an accredited Direct (National) Access Entity by the GCF.

U.S. Peace Corps Small Project Assistance
USAID works with the U.S. Peace Corps to raise environmental awareness among remote communities and increase their resilience to extreme weather events. In Vanuatu, Peace Corps volunteers train with community members on environmental adaptation measures and disaster preparedness. Peace Corps volunteers also train community members to design and manage projects that address these issues. In Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, volunteers work with their communities to build seawalls, improve water and sanitation, construct safe houses for use during extreme weather events and integrate sound environmental practices into project planning.