Fiji Time: 12:05 PM on Thursday 18 January

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Economic threat

Monika Singh
Friday, December 08, 2017

PACIFIC Island countries have taken steps to improve resilience but more innovative approaches and greater institutional capacity can help to respond comprehensively to climate change risks.

The Asian Development Bank's Pacific Department director general Carmela Locsin made the statement after the launch of the Pacific Economic Monitor yesterday.

According to The Monitor countries in the Pacific should step up their efforts to adapt to more extreme weather conditions and mitigate disaster risk to improve the region's economic growth and development prospects.

"Many Pacific countries have taken steps to improve resilience, such as integrating climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into their national policies, climate-proofing infrastructure, and building financial resilience," said Ms Locsin.

The report said the ADB was working with the World Bank Group to assist Fiji to develop an income protection and disaster insurance scheme that could cover vulnerable households in Fiji.

It said the scheme would not only provide an important safety net to households in Fiji, but would also contribute to fiscal resilience by reducing the demands on the national government in the aftermath of national disasters.

Meanwhile the report also states that the short-term forecast for the Pacific subregion remains the same, primarily because of the retained growth outlook for Papua New Guinea, the subregion's largest economy.

It said prospects for the smaller Pacific economies were mixed with growth estimates been adjusted downward for most of the North Pacific and small island economies, but upgraded for the South Pacific.

According to the report the subregional growth outlook for 2017 remains at 2.9 per cent although the 2018 projection is adjusted slightly downward to 3.2 per cent.

It said as a positive development, visitor arrivals in the Cook Islands and Fiji — the two largest South Pacific tourist destinations — have recorded strong growth in 2017.

The Monitor, ADB Pacific Department's flagship economic publication, focuses on country issues as well as current and critical policy themes.

This edition focuses on climate change adaptation, featuring articles examining the vulnerability of Pacific economies to the impacts of climate change and disasters, and how they are addressing these impacts.

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