The previous blog in this series looked at how much Pacific governments were spending in response to COVID-19. Of equal interest is the question of what they are spending on. As part of our Pacific Covid Economic Database research, we have attempted to answer this question for the seven countries of Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu. We have divided governments’ additional COVID-19 expenditure into six categories: health, safety nets, business support, food security, infrastructure and other expenditure.

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As COVID-19 grips the world, market economies have shuttered, schools have closed, and nearly half of the global population is confined to their homes. Yet millions of care workers step out every day to keep the lights on and support those in need, for very low wages. Majority of these care workers are women – nurses, community health workers, nursing home staff, sanitation workers, laundry workers, and others – whose work has been serially undervalued and underpaid.

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Millions of Pacific workers with previously stable incomes from the tourism sector are at risk of sliding into poverty, predicts a new International Labour Organisation (ILO) report. With government restrictions banning overseas travel as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, tourist numbers have fallen to zero — impacting 15.3 million jobs in nations that are especially reliant on tourism like Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. 

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As this report is published, the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before it hit, the Asia-Pacific region was progressing too slowly on delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prospects for success will be influenced by the region’s response and recovery strategies. Transformative approaches that will also address the climate crisis, halt environmental degradation and reduce inequalities are needed.

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Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

SPREP is the regional organisation established by the Governments and Administrations of the Pacific charged with protecting and managing the environment and natural resources of the Pacific. The head office is based in Apia, Samoa with about 100 staff. There is also a SPREP office in Fiji with four staff as well as SPREP Officers stationed in the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. SPREP has an annual budget of USD $29 million in 2018.

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The Pacific Corner Series: Improving women’s access to social protection

The Pacific corner series: Relocation and climate change adaptation strategies

Strategy 2030 recognizes that the ambitious global development agenda must be tailored to specific local circumstances. ADB will strengthen its country-focused approach, promote the use of innovative technologies, and deliver integrated interventions that combine expertise across a range of sectors and themes and through a mix of public and private sector operations.

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This policy guide, developed by ESCAP together with Development Pathways, explains how to design inclusive and robust social protection systems and focuses on tax-financed income security. It explains why universal schemes are better at reaching the poor than targeted schemes, and what policy options to consider when designing inclusive schemes. 

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