Fact Sheet – 2022 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders
The United States is a proud Pacific nation with a long coastline, a state, and territories in the Pacific. We have deep and longstanding ties to the countries of the Pacific: our neighbors, allies, and friends. The Pacific Islands are an essential part of the Indo-Pacific region. Our histories and futures are inextricably linked, and we are deeply committed to the security and prosperity of the region. Just as we faced historical challenges together, we will address current and future challenges together, including by strengthening our shared democratic values and developing our economic links to combat the climate crisis, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to protect the free and open Pacific.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the Pacific Islands at this year’s Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) convened by the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Deputy Secretary was pleased to lead a high-level U.S. interagency delegation, including representatives from the National Security Council, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). At the PICL, the Deputy Secretary highlighted a range of ongoing areas of cooperation with the Pacific Islands and announced several new programs that will provide assistance for governance, people-to-people programs, climate resilience, and information and communications technology. President Joe Biden will host the Pacific Island Country summit later this month to advance a more resilient pacific region.
The United States has provided over $1.5 billion for the Pacific Islands over the past decade. Under the Indo-Pacific Strategy, we will continue to broaden our efforts to partner with Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and territories on their most pressing challenges, including economic and environmental resilience, water and food security, health security, maritime domain awareness, and strengthening democratic institutions and good governance. Through the Administration’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, we will also expand our efforts to deploy secure digital connectivity; build climate resilience in the region as part of PREPARE, the Administration’s cornerstone international adaptation initiative; strengthen global health systems and health security; and advance gender equality and equity. These programs and initiatives have continued even as the COVID-19 pandemic has made travel in the region difficult.
This new U.S. assistance and ongoing engagement with the Pacific Islands as part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy includes:
Advance a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the Pacific Community (SPC), the East-West Center, CARE, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to launch the $12 million Promoting Just, Engaged, Civic-minded and Transparent (PROJECT) Governance activity in 2021. PROJECT Governance has an early success story in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) with the passage of the Kosrae Disability Act on December 3, 2021, the first-of-its-kind legislation to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
- The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) and Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) provided approximately $5 million in the last three fiscal years to PICs and Territories to strengthen democratic institutions and good governance; combat corruption; advance more inclusive societies; advance religious freedom; and strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations and the media. DRL and EAP intend to provide more than $3 million in the upcoming fiscal years in additional assistance to advance democracy, human rights, and good governance, including in new areas to address the intersection of human rights, climate change and environmental degradation.
- The State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) are building resilience and reducing vulnerability to foreign interference, propaganda and disinformation in the Pacific through a variety of initiatives to ensure access to credible and independent news across platforms and to promote regional fact-checking efforts, including through providing Pacific Islands access to outlets with content from credible Western media organizations. GEC and EAP have scaled up efforts to support PIC independent media outlets in strengthening their capacity to expose corruption through investigative journalism, combat disinformation, and promote free discourse.
- The United States will provide increased funding of $180,000 for access to independent media and support for journalists and outlets operating in vulnerable information environments in the Pacific Islands. Recognizing the immediate, negative impact and sharp rise in the circulation of state-sponsored information manipulation in the EAP region, we will combat these propaganda and disinformation narratives and support journalists by providing access to high-quality, independent media content and training in markets where state-backed actors seek to dominate and control the information space.
- Through the Strengthening Democratic Governance in the Pacific Islands (SDGPI) project, USAID fosters democratic and inclusive societies across the Pacific. USAID is supporting free, fair, and inclusive elections in Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and the Solomon Islands by increasing voter awareness and transparency to counter the spread of mis- and disinformation; improving the voter registration process; and promoting an increase in women representation as elected officials. USAID supported women candidates in the recent PNG elections by strengthening their resilience against violence directed at women candidates. One of USAID’s workshop participants, MP Kessy Sawang, made history as the ninth woman elected to the PNG parliament since PNG became an independent country. With her victory, she joined Rufina Peter as the only two women elected out of 118 seats contested.
- The United States appreciates our PIC partners’ participation in the Summit for Democracy and will continue to work together to make meaningful progress to counter corruption and authoritarianism and protect human rights in the region and globally. Many PIC attendees at the first Summit made wide-ranging commitments. The United States has collaborated in the Pacific with several countries, such as New Zealand, on programs to increase press freedom, combat corruption, and support human rights defenders. The United States partners with Australia on the Global Equality Fund to provide funding to promote and protect human rights for LGBTQI+ persons globally.
Build Connections Within and Beyond the Region
- Peace Corps partners with the nations of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu by building and supporting capacity in country specified sectors, areas, and projects, including: English Literacy, Education, COVID-19 Response and Recovery, Environment, Community Economic Development, Youth Development, Climate Resilience and National Volunteerism. Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu will welcome back Volunteers in early 2023. Peace Corps is currently assessing a return to the Solomon Islands. Through PREPARE, the State Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Department of Energy (DOE)/ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are supporting The Local2030 Islands Network, an innovative, island-led, peer-to-peer network connecting island climate experts with those of island jurisdictions in the United States – including Hawai’i and Guam – and beyond. The network, whose secretariat is located at the East-West Center, provides targeted assistance in response to members’ needs to advance best practices in locally driven climate strategies and data applications to build climate resilience activities in island regions aligned to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and climate goals.
- U.S. Embassies’ small grants programs support civil society development and fund community-level projects in the Pacific. Small grants expand educational opportunities for youth to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce, promote sustainable economic development and women’s economic participation, develop partnerships and tools to encourage healthy and resilient populations, and foster responsive, democratic governance and independent media. Additionally, State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) small grants support local or regional environmental projects in eligible countries in the Pacific Islands, including those promoting climate adaptation and resilience, food and water security, sustainable resource management, protection of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, waste management, coral reef restoration, and public health initiatives.
- Embassy Science Fellow (ESF) programs, supported by State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), leverage the expertise of U.S. government scientists and engineers to provide technical assistance to support Pacific Island government initiatives related to climate resilience, coastal resource management, clean energy, and marine spatial planning and conservation.
- The U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) Pacific Island Forest Restoration Initiative (PIFRI) is developing the capacity of key PICs to plan, implement, and monitor forest restoration initiatives for the continual provision of ecosystems goods and services; improve carbon sequestration; and strengthen resilience to climate change. Additionally, PIFRI helps ensure that PICs attain their sustainable development and natural resource management goals.
- The U.S. government Climate Fellows program, a joint initiative of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the State Department, enhances forest and land management, conservation, and restoration by providing targeted technical support to selected countries. A Climate Fellow is currently embedded at the Fiji Ministry of Forestry to work directly with local counterparts and provide customized, in-depth, accountability-enhancing support focused on natural climate solutions.
- The State Department’s EAP Bureau is partnering with American Councils for International Education (ACIE) to provide a training and capacity building program for diplomats in the U.S. Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau) to strengthen their skills including in diplomatic protocol, multilateral diplomacy, and foreign policy.
- The Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Program brings together young leaders from the PICs, territories, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States to build relationships between the younger generation of government, civic, and business leaders to help realize the extraordinary potential of youth in the region to address critical challenges and expand opportunities.
- The Professional Fellows Program for the Pacific Islands is a two-way exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from the PICs and the United States under the theme of economic empowerment. The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs partners with the East-West Center to support a tourism-focused professional fellows program for participants aged 25-40, who are chosen through a competitive process and assigned to customized work-placements in the U.S. that offer them fresh insights, new analytical perspectives, and practical approaches to address the challenges their communities are facing and identify opportunities for economic empowerment.
- The U.S.-South Pacific Scholarship Program is a competitive, merit-based scholarship program that provides opportunities for students from Pacific islands to pursue master’s and bachelor’s degree studies at the University of Hawai’i in fields that are directly relevant to the development needs of PICs. This U.S. Department of State-sponsored program is operated by the East-West Center.
- There are many Fulbright opportunities available for Pacific islanders; these exchanges enhance leadership among international professionals who collaborate to address local and global challenges through a year of academic study and professional development in the United States and study fields critical to the Pacific Islands including climate change, public health, and agricultural and rural development.
- The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is empowering more than a thousand women across the Pacific with the knowledge, networks and access they need to launch or scale a business. For example, over 60 percent of Embassy Suva-sponsored AWE participants now own a business, and both they and implementing partners have expanded capacity and business support networks.
- The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) supports a network of eight American Spaces in Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Tuvalu. In fiscal year 2021, these American Spaces offered 617 virtual and in-person programs, reaching nearly 30,000 participants with accurate, timely information about the United States, positive narratives on American values, and skills-building opportunities for youth.
- ECA’s TechGirls Program is a summer exchange program that supports and advances administration priorities by equipping young women with the knowledge and professional/technical skills to pursue higher education and careers in STEM, contribute to their home economies, and build and sustain networks and connections in STEM fields. In July 2022, the first ever cohort of three TechGirls from Fiji will travel to the United States.
- TechCamp New Zealand, taking place Oct 29-31, 2022, will provide young Pacific Islander leaders with effective communication strategies to raise awareness of climate change to non-scientific audiences as well as with practical technical skills to develop sustainable climate-smart programs.
- The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) supports projects to preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Palau recently received a $220,000 AFCP project grant to document and interpret ancient monumental earthworks on the island of Babeldaob. This project aligns with Palau government efforts to support recovery in the tourism sector after two years of pandemic-related travel restrictions. PICs are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in grants through an annual competitive process. Previous projects include conservation in Micronesia ($573,000) and exchange-centered training at the Fiji Museum ($202,259).
- The English Language Fellow program places teacher trainers with master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at higher education institutions or other educational partners, such as ministries of education, to conduct teacher training for up to ten months. An English Language Fellow will be hosted by Fiji National University, School of Education, College of Humanities and Education starting in January of 2023 and will provide English Language teaching expertise and support to Fiji’s largest teacher training facility.
- The English Language Specialist and Virtual Educator programs are additional opportunities that focus on content-based instruction, teacher training, and curriculum development in the field of TESOL for both shorter and longer term assignments. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Global Online Courses (GOCs) provide additional opportunities for thousands of participants across the Pacific region.
Drive Indo-Pacific Prosperity
- The South Pacific Tuna Treaty and a related Economic Assistance Agreement with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency have been a cornerstone of U.S. cooperation with the Pacific Islands for over three decades and a vital component of the wide range of U.S. engagement and financial assistance in the region. [The Department of State] [The United States government] plan to request a total of $60 million per year for the next ten years from Congress in connection with a new Economic Assistance Agreement with the Forum Fisheries Agency, which would nearly triple current annual assistance provided under this framework. We plan to enhance our cooperation with the Pacific Islands to strengthen the resilience of ocean resources to climate change and other threats – including by marine planning and conservation, improving fisheries sustainability; and sustainable aquaculture planning and design, building climate resilience and mitigating climate change impacts related to fisheries and other sectors; combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; combatting plastic pollution, and supporting maritime security in the region – all in support of a long-term vision for economic and environmental resilience in the Pacific.
- The U.S. government is also boosting secure and reliable digital connectivity in the region, which is a critical driver of economic growth. The United States, along with Australia and Japan, is committed to working with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, and Nauru to improve internet connectivity to these three PICs by providing technical assistance and funding that the FSM plans to use for the East Micronesia Cable. The project will provide secure broadband connectivity to these countries using trusted vendors and bolster economic growth in the region.
- U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced its first transaction in Papua New Guinea in 2021. In collaboration with USAID, DFC provided an investment guaranty to MiBank for up to $5 million to enable small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) operators, women borrowers, and marginalized populations access to finance. USAID is providing technical assistance to assist borrowers with financial literacy and business management skills.
- USAID is advancing competitiveness, agriculture, livelihoods, and the environment in Solomon Islands through its Strengthening Competitiveness, Agriculture, Livelihoods and Environment (SCALE) project. This year, the project will support the construction of 11 agribusiness facilities to improve economic growth. USAID will also invest an additional $1.5 million to the Solomon Islands to improve the sustainability of forestry practices, help conserve forests, and enable communities to reap the dividends of those natural resources.
- The White House welcomed Fiji as an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) partner, and the first PIC to join, in May 2022.
- In 2020, the Treasury Department and State Department collaborated on a $2 million contribution to the IMF’s Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC), which provides demand-driven capacity development programming to 16 Pacific Island Countries. PFTAC aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of Pacific countries to design and implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies to support macroeconomic stability and inclusive economic growth.
- In Solomon Islands, USTDA is working with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) to develop an ICT roadmap to support the deployment of new banking applications that will strengthen the central bank’s operations.
- Through the U.S.-Southeast Asia Aviation Cooperation Program, USTDA will host two workshops focused on aviation development in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The workshops will connect Pacific Island aviation stakeholders with their counterparts in U.S. government and industry to discuss and prioritize the aviation needs of Southeast Asian and Pacific Island markets.
- In 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration announced the commitment of $37 million to fund a runway expansion as well as apron and terminal upgrades at the Yap International Airport in FSM. The improvements will enhance safety and facilitate economic development allowing larger passenger and cargo aircraft to land in Yap.
- The Department of State will commit $300,000 to support capacity building for the development of best practices and guidelines to supervise the use and management of virtual assets in Fiji, Palau, the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, and Tonga. This will incorporate training on topics including compliance with OFAC sanctions, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and licensing procedures, and other best practices in sanctions compliance by the virtual asset industry.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) works across Hawai’i and the insular areas of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, as well as the Republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau. The USFWS is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and has a broad range of roles relative to natural resource management and conservation including land and ocean natural resource management (Pacific Islands Refuge and Monuments Office), regulatory and recovery efforts focused on extinction prevention and recovery of listed species (Pacific Island Fish and Wildlife Office), investigative operations to stop illegal trafficking and take of listed species (Pacific Office of Law Enforcement), a key source of Federal base programmatic funding for Territorial and State wildlife and fishery agencies (Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program). Migratory bird management (Pacific Island Migratory Bird Program) and the development of scientific tools, bringing partners together to create effective climate change conservation actions across Pacific landscapes and seascapes (Pacific Islands Office of Science and Applications).
- Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) works globally to reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth, including through partnerships with two Pacific Island countries, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
- This year, MCC and the Government of Solomon Islands are beginning implementation of a $20 million Threshold Program that aims to improve management of natural resources in the forestry sector and support secure access to land to increase tourism investment. The Forest Value Enhancement Project aims to generate more reliable, sustainable benefits from the country’s natural forest resources. The Accessing Land for Tourism Investment Facilitation Project aims to build government capacity to identify investable land and facilitate investment in the tourism sector.
- MCC and the Government of Kiribati are also actively developing a Threshold Program that aims to support the ability of the Government of Kiribati to facilitate decent, inclusive employment opportunities for I-Kiribati citizens by connecting workers with employment opportunities in Kiribati and in new markets with strong worker protections; building skills required for employment; strengthening protections for workers; and ensuring inclusion of underrepresented groups in employment programs.
Bolster Indo-Pacific Security
- Under the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, USAID and INL will provide $7.5 million to begin implementation of a ten-year strategy to address factors of instability for Papua New Guinea (PNG), consistent with the goals of the Global Fragility Act (GFA) of 2019. Initial programs, subject to Congressional approval, will apply a women, peace, and security lens to PNG. Embassy Port Moresby has identified empowering women and promoting their security as the most direct path to reducing violence and building resilience. These programs will address underlying causes of women’s marginalization and commoditization through a combination of education, economic strengthening, and justice reform. They will unlock opportunities for empowerment so that PNG women can become effective agents of conflict resolution and prevention and champions of resiliency and prosperity, while also promoting increased security and stability for the country itself.
- To assist PICs in addressing trafficking in persons and the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report recommendations, USAID will provide an additional $800,000 for a five-year counter trafficking in persons (CTIP) activity to strengthen TIP prevention, protection, and prosecution through a multi-sectoral approach that engages government, civil society, and the private sector. The activity prioritizes Fiji, RMI, and PNG and will extend to Tonga in the third year.
- The Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) regional programming in the Pacific supports building partners’ capacity to respond to transnational criminal threats. INL currently manages multiple projects to counter wildlife trafficking and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), combat cyber-facilitated crime, and build the capacity of law enforcement in the Freely Associated States. INL anticipates launching additional projects in the next several months.
- INL manages a global anti-money laundering (AML/CFT) program on the certification of financial crime investigators and analysts. This program delivers regional trainings to PICs to improve understanding of national and regional money-laundering risks and the impact of illicit financial flows.
- INL’s Pacific Law Enforcement Regional Capacity Building Program serves as a mechanism to enhance the capacity of the Compact of Free Association (COFA) law enforcement community by providing training, subject-matter expertise support, and case-based mentoring across a broad range of core thematic priorities.
- INL’s Combating Cyber Facilitated Crime in Papua New Guinea project works to support Papua New Guinea’s ability to detect, disrupt, and successfully prosecute cybercrimes and target transnational criminal organizations using Papua New Guinea as a transit country for narcotics, smuggling of wildlife and timber, and the sexual exploitation and trafficking of woman and children.
- INL’s Global Synthetics Engagement provides capacity building training through a global initiative fund to enhance the ability of partner countries in the Pacific to detect and interdict synthetic drugs.
- The Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Security Assistance (PM/SA) manages the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs. Security assistance to the region serves to ensure the independence and sovereignty of PICs by increasing their Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), resilience to climate change, and ability to protect their interests around their maritime borders. In FY 2021, the U.S. Department of State provided over $5 million in FMF to PICs to build partner capacity and increase MDA. Additionally, we support the professionalization and training of Pacific Island Nation militaries and security forces with $1.6 million in IMET for FY21. The Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation’s Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR) provides cybersecurity training to vulnerable private financial institutions and financial regulators in the Pacific Islands.
- ISN/CTR’s programming has also assisted Pacific Islands partners in implementing UN sanctions by training maritime administrations and ship registries to detect and combat exploitation of their flags by sanctions-evading vessels (such as oil tankers trading with the DPRK) and, separately, public, and private sector partners on establishing proliferation finance controls in accordance with international best practices.
- The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will explore new and unique approaches to bolster the region’s security and help build their capacity and resilience as secure, independent actors. DoD partners with Pacific Island nations to support capacity-building initiatives to enhance maritime domain awareness. DoD currently has robust programs in Palau, FSM, and RMI. DoD is working to expand its official representation and security cooperation offices in the region and work to ensure the Pacific Islands are prioritized across the Department. To address the adverse effects of climate change, DoD is re-launching the Defense Environmental International Cooperation (DEIC) program, a partner engagement program on environmental security. Through the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), DoD carries out humanitarian missions in the Pacific Islands to recover U.S. service members unaccounted for in past conflicts. DoD was proud to contribute to Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) assistance provided following the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami that impacted Tonga.
- Working with its partner nations, the U.S. Coast Guard supports the Pacific Island Countries by conducting maritime law enforcement; protecting life and property; safeguarding navigation on the high seas; and providing humanitarian assistance. The U.S. Coast Guard is a trusted ally in the Indo-Pacific and is proud to support its partners by leveraging 11 bilateral shiprider agreements with Pacific Island Countries. These agreements increase partner nations’ organic proficiency, promote interoperability, and ensure resource security and maritime sovereignty.
Build Regional Resilience to 21st Century Transnational Threats
- Through its Climate Ready project, USAID has helped PICs access more than $440 million from various international climate finance funds since 2016 to help the region adapt to climate change and support the accreditation of national and regional entities to obtain direct access to climate funds from international donors.
- To reduce the primary drivers and threats to biodiversity in Papua New Guinea, USAID is investing an additional $4 million in the “Lukautim Graun” (Look After the Environment) At the national level, the activity helps promote transparent policies, including environmental safeguards, for effective stewardship of natural resources. At the site level, the activity strengthens biodiversity conservation in priority places by supporting local governments, civil society, and communities to reduce key threats.
- Launched at the 2022 Our Ocean Conference, USAID is continuing to address the social and ecological drivers of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing through its five-year, up to $15 million OurFish OurFuture USAID is also strengthening partner government capacity to implement monitoring, control, and surveillance activities in coastal fisheries through its five-year, up to $6 million Pacific Coastal Fisheries Management and Compliance Activity, awarded in September 2021.
- USAID will also provide an additional $2.5 million for a new five-year, up to $16 million activity to combat climate change by conserving forests in PNG. The activity will improve forest governance, increase the environmental sustainability of the forest industry, and protect land and resource rights, thereby reducing deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions. USAID plans to invest an additional $2.5 million from USAID’s Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund to support women’s participation in sustainable agroforestry and businesses that manage ecosystem services. This helps deliver on USAID’s commitment at COP26 to invest at least $14 million of the Fund in gender-responsive climate programming.
- USAID will provide an additional $830,000 to the Disaster Resilience in the Compact Nations (RESILIENCE) activity, which will increase the FSM and RMI’s capacity to manage disasters and climate-related risks, and expedite the delivery of disaster preparedness, relief, and reconstruction assistance.
- USTDA is supporting climate resilience in the Pacific Islands through project preparation activities focused on renewable energy generation and smart grid development. These investments will leverage over $400 million in financing to support decarbonization and climate goals in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Fiji.
- The Pacific Islands Public Health Sector Surveillance and Systems Strengthening is a Pacific Community (SPC) program supported by EAP to strengthen the capacity and resiliency of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) to prepare, prevent, and respond to potential infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics in the Pacific in a post COVID-19 world.
- The United States has actively distributed and supported COVID-19 vaccines, including for the Pacific Islands, through COVAX, through the Quad Vaccine Partnership, and the COVID-19 Global Action Plan.
- The United States through USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services have donated over 740,000 lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines and provided over $57 million in COVID-19 assistance across all 12 Pacific Island countries. This assistance has helped ensure the island nations’ health care systems could meet the demands of the pandemic. It also strengthened 600 remote health facilities and trained more than 4,500 health workers across all 12 island countries. USAID also donated 90 ventilators to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, and PNG.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided assistance to train the FSM, RMI, and Palau in procedures to manage the pandemic. HHS made vaccines available to these three countries on an equal access basis with U.S. states. HHS provided vaccines free of charge to 100 percent of the populations of the FSM, RMI, and Palau.
- USAID provides year-round disaster preparedness and resilience assistance which enables Pacific Island nations to lead their own disaster responses more effectively. Between FY 2020 and FY 2021, USAID provided over $50 million in humanitarian assistance to prepare for and respond to natural disasters in 11 Pacific Island nations. USAID provided over $2.6 million in response to the eruption of Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January 2022 and recently announced $500,000 to respond to the ongoing drought in Kiribati.