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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and Nauru participated in a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to officially mark the first step toward the construction of the country’s first international port.
Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa led the groundbreaking ceremony and gave a keynote speech. Australia’s Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston and ADB’s Development Coordinator for Nauru Camilla Solomon participated in the event.
“We waited for more than a century to change our dream of having an international port into reality,” said Waqa. “We are delighted to partner with ADB, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the Government of Australia in this initiative, and this event is symbolic of our long-term development partnership.”
Financed by ADB, GCF, and the governments of Australia and Nauru, the Nauru Sustainable and Climate Resilient Connectivity Project will upgrade the largely unworkable boat harbor into an international port.
“The beginning of the construction phase puts Nauru on a path towards economic recovery as the new port will increase export and trade opportunities,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Carmela Locsin. “We are pleased to help the government realize their dream of a new port through this transformational project.”
The new, climate-proofed Nauru Port will allow large vessels to berth with the construction of a wharf featuring a berth pocket and breakwater. Port security will be established to ensure compliance with international best practices, while a container storage area will be built.
“The redevelopment of the port will be transformative for Nauru,” said Ruston. “It will create jobs and spur economic growth through increased trade and investment, deepening Nauru’s connectivity to the region and more widely. Australia is proud to be involved in this important project and looks forward to working with the Government of Nauru and other development partners to explore future opportunities that will arise from the development of this much-needed, world-class seaport.”
The project will introduce institutional reforms within the port authority and support the management of the port, ensuring financially sustainable port operations and maintenance.
GCF’s Mitigation and Adaptation Division Director Jerry Velasquez said the construction of the new port provided a timely chance to introduce and develop climate resilience features to the infrastructure.
“GCF’s contribution ensures the rehabilitated port will be resilient to climate-related disasters such as strong waves, storms, and cyclones, and continues serving low-carbon maritime transport connections to the region and the world,” said Velasquez. “This is essential for a small island developing state like Nauru, which relies on secure coastal mooring for imported food and other essentials.”
The project’s next milestone will be a port dedication ceremony in March 2019.
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