Cutting the red tape and easy access to World Bank funds is long overdue

Tupa’imatuna Lavea Iulai is on the far left and Rachel Kyte is second from the right at today’s press conference

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: TUESDAY 02 SEPTEMBER 2014: The Chief Executive Officer for Treasury Tupa’imatuna Lavea Iulai today emphasized with the World Bank the need for easier and faster access to funds.

“It is long overdue,” he told a press conference in Apia today attended by Ms. Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change who announced the Banks increased support for disaster and climate resilient development in small island developing states from US$145 million per year to about US$190 million and work with partners towards a Small Island States Resilience Initiative.

“It should have been done long time ago,” said Tupa’imatuna.

Small island nations have been struggling with the World Bank process and has taken years for some small island nations to implement their redevelopment programme, said Maia

“The Small Islands States Resilience Initiative is a response to a request from small island leaders who have asked the international community for increased and improved assistance in the face of mounting disasters and climate change,” said Rachel Kyte.

“The initiative is about finding ways to cut through the red tape and make it easier, faster and simpler to access funds to deal with resilience and climate changes,” said Ms. Kyte.

“As some of the most threatened people and places on the planet, small island nations are stepping up their efforts to deal with climate change. This Initiative is designed to address the specific needs of small islands and make it easier, faster, and simpler to access funding to deal with resilience and climate change,” she said.

Tupa’imatuna welcomed the initiative and acknowledged the World Bank for it.

Asked if the small island nations have contributed to the resilience initiative launched today, the World Bank group Vice President said they have been listening to the criticisms from island nations hence the initiative.

“We listen but time is our enemy,” she said. “We cannot wait for 2016 to launch this programme,” continued Ms. Kyte.

The initiative will fund both priority resilient investments as well as technical assistance.

“Investments include retrofitting major structures at risk such as schools, roads, houses and the ecosystem,” said Ms. Kyte.

The World Bank has realised that they could not go on the way it is and for the programme to succeed through investments and developments, they look at adapting and implement the initiative programme.

The islands at risk are struggling the most so we need to rectify the constraints, said Ms. Kyte.

In Samoa, funds for agricultural rehabilitation after Cyclone Evan in 2012 have come under continuing criticism due to the long and involved World Bank process and the most affected farmers are still waiting.