05/17/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2021 20:19
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2021 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a $40 million project for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to improve the resilience of the country's primary road network to natural disasters and climate change.
FSM is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters and climate change and faces significant challenges related to sea level rise, intensified storm surges, increased rainfall, and flooding. The FSM Prioritized Road Investment and Management Enhancements Project, which will be delivered across Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap states, aims to provide a vital boost to critical road infrastructure in areas at significant risk of disrepair and will help facilitate year-round access to critical infrastructure and services for communities - making travel safer and more reliable for all road users.
The project will fund improvements to the way climate change is addressed in the road sector, including through a Vulnerability Assessment, a Climate Resilient Road Strategy, and the development of a climate-informed road asset management system. Urgent improvements and upgrades to critical bridges and crossings in all four of FSM's states will also be financed through the loan, as will a selection of near, medium, and long-term road works to enhance the resilience of the network in each state, based on the Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Resilient Road Strategy.
The project will also fund road safety initiatives and a program to help both improve access to driver's licenses and support technical employment opportunities for women.
'A well-managed, resilient road network is vital for our people,' said Secretary Carl Apis, Director of the FSM's Department of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure. 'It provides access to important social services like schools and health centres, as well as enabling vital economic activity through the movement of goods and services. In addition, as severe weather events increase in frequency and severity due to the realities of a climate-impacted environment, a more resilient road network will be critical to ensuring connections to services like health, education - and each other. These are some of the reasons why President David W. Panuelo has attached great importance to roads and bridges and has elevated them to a national priority under the Pave the Nation Program. We're pleased to be working with the World Bank to ensure our roads stay open and our people remain connected.'
This project is part of the broader, $231 million Pacific Climate Resilient Transport Program, a series of independent projects designed to systematically improve theclimate resilience of the Pacific's transport networks to natural disasters and climate change.
'The project's approach to building resilience focuses on improving skills, knowledge, and systems for the people of FSM, while also addressing critical upgrades for roads and bridges across the country,' said Paul Vallely, World Bank Acting Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.
'This is a great example of the rapidly-growing partnership between the government of FSM and the World Bank and I am particularly proud that our teams have been able to work together to deliver this project despite the significant challenges that COVID-19 has created.'
This project will be funded through a grant from the International Development Association (IDA) - the World Bank's fund for the world's most in-need countries - and implemented by the Department of Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure in FSM.
The World Bank works in partnership with 12 countries across the Pacific, supporting 87 projects, totaling $2 billion in commitments in sectors, including: agriculture; aviation and transport; climate resilience and adaptation; economic policy; education and employment; energy; fisheries; health; macroeconomic management; rural development; telecommunications; and tourism.