World Bank: $30m investment in Marshall Island climate resilience


New project will improve climate resilience and safety of densely populated urban areas amid severe risks from climate change. 

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a new project to strengthen the climate resilience, safety, and liveability of urban areas in the Marshall Islands.

The $30m Urban Resilience Project will help to establish more climate resilient public facilities and urban spaces, and will assist the country with climate adaptation planning and policies. The project also includes the construction of coastal protection including sea walls, dikes and embankments, to protect important infrastructure in the capital city, Majuro.

Climate resilience is a major challenge for island nations, with severe weather events growing more common and infrastructure needing to be adapted or replaced to reflect that. Marshall Islands’ urban areas are some of the most densely populated areas in the Pacific, and internal migration from outer islands has intensified that density over the past 30 years.

This rapid urbanisation and growth means that the risks from natural hazards are more acute and and require more risk-informed urban planning, regulations and construction.

Jiba Kabua, the Marshall Islands minister of works, infrastructure and utilities, explained: “As people continue to move to our country’s urban centres, there is increasing pressure on our efforts to ensure there is appropriate housing, urban infrastructure and services. We recognise the need to address these planning issues by improving urban resilience at the building, neighbourhood and island levels, and welcome this new World Bank support to address these serious risks to urban communities.”

The project will invest in facilities that can then serve as demonstration projects for future developments. This will include the construction of more climate resilient government buildings in Majuro, which will play an important role in supporting government services during natural disasters.

Degi Young, the World Bank’s resident representative for the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Government of the Marshall Islands through this new project that will also provide analysis of current and future climate related risks to people, housing and infrastructure. We are also proud that this builds on the World Bank’s climate adaptation support for the country through existing projects including the Pacific Resilience Project and our work on mapping the impacts of sea level rise and adaptation options for Marshall Islands through our recent Atoll Study.”