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Administrator Samantha Power Announces Additional Investments In Pacific Island Countries While Visiting Fiji
August 15, 2023

Today while in Suva, Fiji, Administrator Samantha Power will announce additional investments as part of the U.S. commitment to deepening its relationship with the Pacific Island countries and to help Pacific Islanders build resilience against the climate crisis, economic shocks, and health challenges, including:

New Mission in the Pacific Islands: The new Mission demonstrates the United States’ enduring commitment to partner with our Pacific Island neighbors to support their development goals in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and make a positive impact in the lives of Pacific Islanders. Based in Suva, Fiji, USAID/Pacific Islands will have primary responsibility over USAID programs in nine Pacific Island countries: Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. USAID/Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu will oversee programs in those countries. USAID currently has staff located in the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands.

Increase Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity: Administrator Power will announce the upcoming signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of the South Pacific, which engages broadly across the Pacific through a network of campuses. Through the MoU, USAID and USP will launch formal cooperation under USAID’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP)-Pacific initiative, its flagship digital program to advance an open, interoperable, secure, and resilient Pacific region. The project will seek to improve broadband access, support the digital delivery of public services, promote policies and regulations to enable the region’s digital transformation, and upgrade digital skills and competencies, including increasing cybersecurity capacity. This MoU closely aligns to the Pacific’s request that development partners need to work through and with the regional architecture on their priorities. This USAID funded project aligns closely with the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP) — a whole-of-government global initiative to promote an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet.

Supporting Fiji to Consolidate Democratic Gains: Responding to Fiji’s vision for increasingly inclusive, peaceful, and participatory democracy, USAID will work with the Government of Fiji as it implements its first municipal elections since 2005. USAID will provide $600,000 in technical assistance and training to the government to conduct electoral reform to boost the fairness, inclusiveness, credibility, and integrity of the local elections. Additionally, USAID will work with the government, political parties, and civil society to increase women’s meaningful participation in political and electoral processes; work with political parties to improve their capacity to run in elections; and work with the government and media to counter mis/disinformation. USAID will also provide voter and civic education to communities. Building on successful partnerships that increased democratic inclusion for Fijian voters, especially marginalized groups, USAID aims to solidify Fiji’s growing reputation as a regional democratic role model, and illustrate to its people that democracy delivers results that make a difference in people’s lives.

Tripling of Peace Corps funding to make greater impacts in the Pacific Islands: Started in 1983, the Small Project Assistance (SPA) Program represents the largest and longest-running partnership between USAID and the Peace Corps. With the welcome return of the Peace Corps to the region following public-health closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID is increasing our investment threefold into SPA programs in Pacific countries where Peace Corps has active programs. In addition to strengthening people-to-people ties between Americans and Pacific Islanders, SPA grants and technical training projects provide valuable skills and knowledge transfer that empower communities to find innovative, local solutions to their development needs.

New health partnerships with FAO and WHO: USAID has committed to work with the governments of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and other Pacific Island countries to close national health security gaps in accordance with our strong shared commitment to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. As part of our commitment made during the 2022 U.S.-Pacific Islands Summit to provide global health security funding for the Pacific Islands, USAID is launching two new programs to support Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and countries throughout the region. In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), USAID will support global health security priorities in the Pacific by improving regional surveillance and lab capacity, training and equipping health workers and veterinarians, bolstering emergency preparedness and response, and supporting critical policy development and coordination in the region.

Blue carbon research and analysis: Blue carbon ecosystems are the basis for economic development opportunities in the Pacific, and the pace of blue carbon losses demands action. To understand the importance and impact of blue carbon in the Indo-Pacific, USAID is bringing together a team of global experts on fisheries, natural capital, carbon markets, and community-level climate risk management to examine the latest science, community perspectives, and innovative financing strategies to help governments, the private sector, and communities accelerate responsible investment in blue carbon ecosystems. Through this analysis, USAID will develop a combination of nature-based solutions, policy and regulatory actions, and capacity-building strategies necessary to sustain blue carbon ecosystems and their potential to deliver mitigation, adaptation, and economic co-benefits to Indo-Pacific communities that can be implemented by local governmental units. By investing in the study and protection of these ecosystems, USAID is committing to Pacific-led efforts to build resilience to the impacts of climate change across the Pacific Island region, among other benefits.


Administrator Samantha Power's Address at USP

During a trip to Fiji, USAID Administrator Power visited the University of South Pacific and delivered remarks to university leadership, staff, and students.