The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a new strategy to help ADB’s Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) improve connectivity and tackle other core development challenges across the Pacific over the next 5 years.
The Transport Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map 2021–2025 reviews transport sector performance, summarises development constraints, and articulates the rationale and strategic direction behind ADB’s support. The report explains how ADB will support its Pacific DMCs to achieve domestic and regional transport objectives that enable men and women in both remote areas and urban centers to better access employment, markets, education, and health services.
“Whether it’s upgrades to roads, ports, or airports, transport is one of the ways ADB can have the biggest impact in the Pacific,” said Director of ADB Pacific Department’s Transport and Communications Division Dong Kyu Lee. “Through this new road map, ADB will leverage its extensive experience in the transport sector and its strong partnerships in the region to provide transport support that improves connectivity, makes cities more livable, builds resilience to climate change, and spurs inclusive economic growth through regional cooperation.
The report notes ADB’s 14 Pacific DMCs are scattered across 30 million square kilometers of ocean, with a total population of 10 million people. The combination of remote geography and dispersed populations present unique challenges to establishing transport networks that lower the costs of trade, address climate risks, and deepen interaction in global markets.
The report says that in 2019 ADB had 17 transport projects valued at more than US$1.4 billion underway in the Pacific, comprising 59% of its work in the region. Another 27 transport projects valued at US$2.3 billion are planned for 2020–2023.
Ongoing ADB-supported projects include the US$65 million upgrade of Nauru’s port in Aiwo to strengthen resilience to climate change and increase efficiency and capacity. Port upgrades are also planned for Apia in Samoa, Honiara in Solomon Islands, and Nuku’alofa in Tonga.
In Papua New Guinea, since 2010 ADB has been helping upgrade and rehabilitate national airports under the US$480 million Civil Aviation Development Investment Program to deliver safe, effective, and reliable aviation services. A related program will link airports with all-weather airstrips and develop aviation sector institutional capacity.
The report highlights how ADB works with governments and regional bodies to identify and address shared challenges in the Pacific, including strengthening the resilience of transport systems to climate change and disasters; the development of intermodal transport links to boost tourism; connecting remote populations through roads, wharves, and airstrips, and commercially viable transport services; incorporating the private sector in transport service delivery; and designing socially inclusive and gender-responsive transport infrastructure.
The Transport Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map is linked to and informs ADB’s strategy document for Pacific small island developing states, the Pacific Approach, and aligned with ADB’s Strategy 2030.