The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved the establishment of new resident offices in Suva, Fiji Islands and Sydney, Australia .

The Pacific sub-regional office in Fiji and Pacific Liaison and coordination office in Sydney will both open in 2004 to serve as operational centres and travel and communication hubs of the ADB’s work in the Pacific.

Initially, they will perform many of the standard functions of the ADB’s resident missions, including:

  • Deepening partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector
  • Policy dialogue and support
  • Country reporting
  • Aid coordination
  • External relations and information dissemination
  • In addition, over the two years to 2005, substantial country programming and project admin istration responsibilities would be shifted to them in a phased manner.

“The new offices will allow ADB to better meet its strategic commitments to the Pacific region,” says Jeremy Hovland, director general of the ADB’s Pacific department.

“They will also afford wider contacts with officials and development partners and more frequent participation in Pacific events.”

Suva has been the dominant hub of regional organisations in the Pacific and an office in Fiji will help strengthen regional cooperation, an important part of the ADB’s charter. In addition, the project portfolio in Fiji is growing rapidly, necessitating increased attention to portfolio management in Fiji , as well as in nearby Pacific Island countries.

Sydney has long been the main gateway for ADB missions from the Manila headquarters traveling to Pacific developing countries. Also, senior Pacific government officials and civil society delegations visiting or passing through Sydney number at least 40 per year, compared to an average of about eight per year visiting ADB headquarters.

The ADB’s 13 Pacific developing member countries have a total population of about 8mn people living on thousands of small islands spread over a vast area as great as the land area of all ADB’s other developing member countries combined.

“The two new offices will complement each other in a way that makes optimal use of their respective advantages,” Hovland says.

“Together, with the approved resident mission in Port Moresby , Papua New Guinea , they will provide the strongest possible network of offices within the Pacific that will improve ADB’s responsiveness and quality of its services to these countries.”

Besides its HQ in Manila , ADB has 23 other offices around the world, comprising resident and regional missions and representative offices.