AIWO, NAURU (6 September 2018)- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Nauru today signed grant and project agreements to help transform the Aiwo boat harbor in Nauru into the country's first fully functioning international port. The signing ceremony marked the start of the construction phase of the port project.
ADB's Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office Regional Director Ms. Emma Fan and Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Mr. David Adeang signed the agreements on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Aiwo. Australia's High Commissioner to Nauru Ms. Angela Tierney and the Ambassador of Japan to Nauru Mr. Masahiro Omura witnessed the signing.
"The Government of Nauru, on behalf of all its people, would like to express their sincere gratitude to all the contributors to the project," said Mr. Adeang. "This project, which is our highest priority and an achievement for the Waqa government, will provide many long-term economic benefits and support Nauru's commitment to climate change. These benefits will be for all of our people on an intergenerational basis."
The Nauru Sustainable and Climate Resilient Connectivity Project, approved in January 2018, will transform the largely inoperable boat harbor into an efficient, reliable, and climate-resilient port through structural improvements and capacity building. This will help improve the quality of life of all people in Nauru and boost the country's economic performance through increased trade.
ADB is providing a $21.3 million grant for the project. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Government of Australia will contribute $26.91 million and $14.08 million, respectively, while the Government of Nauru will provide $17.3 million. The Government of Japan has pledged to supply port operation equipment under a separate bilateral agreement between the two governments.
"The project will help to strengthen the resilience of Nauru to extreme weather caused by climate change," said GCF Deputy Executive Director Mr. Javier Manzanares. "This initiative will help to better prepare Nauru for the sudden impact of disasters as well as the slow-moving threat of sea level rise. This project is part of our strong support for climate action in the Pacific-with nine approved GCF projects in the region to date, amounting to nearly $300 million."
"The cofinanced project will be a lifeline for the people of Nauru. The new port will boost connectivity and is a prime example of multi-donor action on climate mitigation and adaption," said Ms. Fan.
"The new port will create jobs and spur economic growth through increased trade and investment in Nauru. It is one of several significant infrastructure projects Australia supports in Nauru and is an integral part of Australia's efforts to promote prosperity and resilience across the Pacific," said Ms. Tierney.
"The Government of Japan attaches importance to the implementation of connectivity and intends to support the project by providing related equipment," said Mr. Omura. "The port project will build a wharf and a breakwater at Aiwo, reconstruct port buildings, a container storage area, and port security facilities complying to international maritime standards. The project will support institutional reforms to strengthen the Port Authority of Nauru and achieve sound and efficient port governance and management, while establishing a revolving fund to ensure financially sustainable port operations and maintenance."
ADB has been supporting Nauru since 1991, and has committed a loan of $5 million, grants totaling $20.33 million, and technical assistance projects totaling $6.96 million.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members-48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.