How New Zealand Contributes to ADB's Approach to the Pacific

By Stephen P. Groff

New Zealand and ADB are collaborating with Pacific nations to help them achieve their development goals.

New Zealand and ADB are collaborating with Pacific nations to help them achieve their development goals.

Greetings from Wellington outside Parliament House, aptly known as “The Beehive.”  I’m here for ADB’s High Level Consultation with the Government of New Zealand.

These meetings are held each year with the Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or MFAT, to discuss ADB’s strategy, operations, and performance—with particular focus on our work in the Pacific island countries.

These discussions are an important opportunity to exchange views on how to enhance our work on improving development outcomes across the region.

While here, I’ve met with ministers and senior officials to identify ways in which we might work more closely together on challenges facing the Pacific, especially around the critical issue of climate change.

[tweet="ADB, New Zealand committed to help the Pacific prepare for climate change" text="ADB, New Zealand committed to helping the Pacific prepare for climate change"]

I’ve also visited the School of Government at Wellington’s Victoria University and presented to students and faculty ADB’s perspectives on the changing landscape of the Asia-Pacific region.

New Zealand captures the imagination as a South Pacific paradise, with beautiful mountains and beaches and exotic wildlife. It is thus not such a surprise that the government—led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern—has announced a strong commitment to helping the Pacific prepare for climate change.

With this background, it goes without saying that New Zealand is an important partner: It is a founding member of ADB and has made significant contributions to the Asian Development Fund as well as to cofinanced projects, grants, and technical assistance in many countries around the region.

[tweet="New Zealand and ADB helping Pacific nations invest in infrastructure, reform, capacity development" text="New Zealand and ADB are helping Pacific nations invest in infrastructure, reform and capacity development"]

ADB partners with the government to help countries across this vast ocean address the challenges of climate change and respond to the ravages of natural disasters that all too often plague these small island nations.

The ADB and MFAT teams also jointly undertake policy dialogue—a partnership that allows us to provide coherent policy advice and reduce transaction costs for Pacific governments.

Our collective work ranges from physical investment in infrastructure to institutional reform and capacity development. During these consultations, we explored areas for deepening this collaboration and cooperation across our operations. We shared success stories and lessons that will guide us as we work together to help Pacific nations achieve their development goals and achieve prosperity and sustainability.

Over ADB’s 51-year history, the insights and perspective of the government and people of New Zealand have positively influenced ADB’s approach to the Pacific and I look forward to a strong and continued partnership with our friends here in Wellington.