Vanuatu ready to implement USD 4 million seawater desalination

Caption: L-R  Hon. Mr. Maki Simelum, Minister of Finance & Economic Management; Mr. Jonathan Mitchell Manager PEC Fund; Mr. Kinzo Nakagun Chief of Mission and Counsellor, Embassy of Japan, Fiji at the signing ceremony in Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu government has just signed a Financing Agreement that will enable the implementation of the Solar powered desalination plant for the Eastern part of Ambae Island and Aniwa Islands.

Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance & Economic Management, Hon. Mr. Maki Simelum, the Embassy of Japan Chief of Mission and Counsellor based in Fiji, Mr. Kinzo Nakagun and Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund Manager, Mr. Jonathan Mitchell Manager were present to mark this important occasion with the recipients of the project and other government representatives of Vanuatu.

The US$4million project initially approved by the PEC Fund Joint Committee on 24 April 2013 is a direct response to the impacts of climate change to the vulnerable community of the habitants of Ambae andAniwa Islands.

In addressing the stakeholders present, PEC Fund Manager, Mr. Jonathan Mitchell expressed, “Today is a momentous occasion and we extend our warmest commendation and congratulations to the Government of Vanuatu on the timely approval of this important project that will be financed from the PECFund, a Fund so kindly contributed by the Government of Japan. We wish the Government of Vanuatu and the participating communities every success in the implementation of the project and I encourage the implementers of the project to be diligent and professional in their efforts.”

Under the fund, the project will provide access to a safe supply of water to the healthcare centre and approximately 10,500 people on Eastern Ambae as well as provide water to approximately 350 residents on the Island of Aniwa.

The Government of Vanuatu will implement the project through the Energy Department with technical assistance from the Public Works Department, the Japanese private sector and a local private sector firm for the first two years, who will be engaged to perform maintenance service for the service of the solar desalination plant before the gradual handing over of systems to the Government of Vanuatu.

The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan to provide ¥6.8billion (approximately US$66 million) to Forum Island Countries (FICs) to tackle environmental issues. Each FIC is provided with an indicative allocation of USD$4million to support projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and seawater desalination plants or a combination of both. The fund is administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

To date, the Governments of Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands and now Vanuatu have successfully accessed the PEC Fund for national renewable energy and seawater desalination projects.


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