The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional $2.87 million (Vt317.7 million) assistance for the Port Vila Urban Development Project to further help Vanuatu achieve sustainable urban development through improved access to sanitation, drainage facilities, and roads.

A grant agreement for the additional financing was signed in a ceremony in Port Vila yesterday, attended by Jean Pierre Nirua, Vanuatu’s Education Minister and Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Management, and Nancy Wells, Senior Country Coordination Officer of ADB’s Extended Mission in Vanuatu. The $2.87 million (Vt317.7million) grant will be provided by the Global Environment Facility.

“The extra funds will help strengthen climate change resilience and disaster preparedness in Port Vila,” said ADB’s Nancy Wells.

“Increasing the design standard for the project’s drainage and preparing catchment management plans following sustainable urban drainage principles are part of this plan.”

Port Vila is the commercial and tourist center of the country, generating almost two thirds of national GDP.

The poor state of the capital’s drainage, road, and sanitation infrastructure are negatively impacting Vanuatu’s ability to attract and retain commercial and tourist related investment.

The infrastructure’s current deteriorating condition is also raising concerns regarding public health, environmental degradation, and poorer quality of life for Port Vila residents and visitors.

“The co-financed project, managed by the Government of Vanuatu through the Vanuatu Project Management Unit (VPMU) and funded by grants from the Government of Australia and the Global Environment Facility — a loan from the ADB and a grant contribution from the government — will help the country achieve sustainable urban development through improved services in Port Vila,” said Mr. Nirua at the ceremony.

The project will help address the increasing urbanization that is putting unprecedented pressure on infrastructure and is contributing to sustainable development in Port Vila in close coordination with other major projects underway in the national capital including the Port Vila Lapetasi International Multi-Purpose Wharf Development Project, the Vanuatu Interisland Shipping Support Project, and the Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project all which will support Port Vila as a vibrant and attractive economic hub of the Pacific.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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