The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors recently approved US$11.5 million (AUD$18 million) in new grant financing to Tuvalu.

The Tuvalu First Climate and Disaster Resilience Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat DDO) will support improved assessment of Tuvalu’s climate and disaster risks, including monitoring and reporting, and help the government fast-track the flow of critical goods and supplies during emergencies and disaster events.

This support includes a development policy grant of US$7.5 million (AUD$11.8 million) and an additional Cat DDO of US$4 million (AUD$6.3 million). The Cat DDO funds are available immediately in the event of a natural disaster.

Both the frequency and the intensity of tropical cyclones increased over the past decade. Cyclone Pam, which struck Tuvalu in 2015, displaced 45 percent of the population and caused damage equivalent to more than 25 percent of national GDP. Cyclone Tino, which slammed into Tuvalu in 2022, caused storm surges and severe flooding in eight of the country’s nine islands.

“Tuvalu is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and natural disasters that further impact our economy and how we’re able to recover from these shocks,” said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance. “This support from the World Bank enables us to accelerate ongoing efforts to be better prepared and resourced, for the safety, adaptation and welfare of our people.”

“We are pleased to support Tuvalu’s efforts to strengthen its disaster management systems and will continue to stand with Tuvalu to help build a stronger more resilient future,” said Suzy Yoon-Yildiz, Acting World Bank Country Manager for Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

This project will bolster the ongoing work of Tuvalu’s National Disaster Management Office in coordinating post-disaster response activities and ensure that more women are represented on multisector island disaster committees; as well as boost efforts for more disaster-resilient infrastructure in the country through the work of Tuvalu’s National Building Code Assessment Unit, that has already been established by the Public Works Department.