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Development assistance in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

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Australia's development assistance to the Republic of the Marshall Islands

2023-24 bilateral allocation [budget estimate] for North Pacific
$6.3 million
2023-24 total Australian ODA [budget estimate] for North Pacific
$13.5 million
2022-23 total Australian ODA [actual] for North Pacific
$35.4 million
2021-22 total Australian ODA [actual] for North Pacific
$15.7 million

The Republic of the Marshall Islands also benefits from non-ongoing COVID-19 measures. Funding from these measures will be included in actual figures published in the relevant Australia’s Official Development Assistance: Statistical Summary.

Australia's aid program in the North Pacific focusses on the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), following the Republic of Palau’s graduation from Official Development Assistance (ODA) on 1 January 2022.

Australia's regional programs complement its bilateral programs across the Pacific. Our regional programs include those that assist RMI to manage its fisheries (through the Forum Fisheries Agency), mitigate the impacts of severe climate, tidal and oceanographic events (through the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific), and strengthen governance and accountability (through the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration, the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre and the Pacific Regional Audit Initiative).

Australia's bilateral aid investments in RMI support the following objectives:

Objective 1: Increasing access to clean water and sanitation

Australia has recently concluded a project with the Government of RMI and the Asian Development Bank to establish an integrated water supply and sanitation system on the island of Ebeye. With a land area of 32 square kilometres and a population of 15,000 people – half of whom are under fifteen years of age – Ebeye is fifth most densely populated island on earth. Overcrowding has stretched deteriorating infrastructure, challenged service delivery, and in combination has undermined health and education. Our work to secure water supply and sanitation services was an important investment in improving health, social and economic outcomes for Ebeye residents. Australia's contribution was valued at USD4 million over six years, and finished on 31 December 2021.

Objective 2: Achieving gender equality and enhancing women's empowerment

Australia is working to address national gender equality priorities in RMI, including to strengthen civil society action for gender equality, reduce the incidence of gender-based violence, and expand support services including establishing a domestic violence counselling service. A key implementing partner is the non-government organisation WUTMI (Women United Together Marshall Islands).

Objective 3: Health security and responding to COVID-19

Australia has been provided COVID-19 supplies to RMI to help build its pandemic preparedness, with over 3,000 tonnes of medical goods delivered to Majuro.  

Australia has provided over 70,000 items covering medical supplies, protective equipment and testing kits through its Pacific-focused Essential Services and Humanitarian Corridor program and National Medical Stockpile. This includes 16,000 rapid antigen tests, 3,200 GeneXpert cartridges, 11,800 N95 masks, 11,000 face shields, 13,000 hand sanitisers, as well as crucial COVID-19 medical supplies such as pulse oximeters, stethoscopes and thermometers.

These supplies were given to the Ministry of Health and Human Services and National Disaster Management Office to help frontline workers, including the doctors, nurses, police, NDC staff, volunteers and others working around the clock to help keep us all safe.

These vital COVID-19 materials have been coordinated under Australia’s Pacific Flights Program, which has helped deliver urgent supplies and personnel across the region. In coming weeks, it will also support the transport of medical personnel to Majuro from the Pacific to reinforce the Ministry of Health.

These deliveries were on top of Australia’s support for the roll out of US CDC-supplied vaccines to neighbouring islands. This involved working with the Ministry of Health, Indies Trader and Air Marshall Islands to deliver first round vaccines, boosters and critical paediatric doses and medical personnel across RMI over the past 12 months.  Australia also worked with IOM to deliver vulnerable households with menstrual health hygiene packs which include mask supplies and funded local NGO DeafFlourish to help their COVID-19 preparedness campaigns.

This is part of Australia’s commitment to get the Pacific vaccinated, with over 60 million doses supported by Australia in the Indo-Pacific, and to bolster COVID-19 preparedness and recovery.

Our results

Australia's development assistance:

  • is supporting the RMI’s government drought emergency response plan in 2022 by providing training and capacity building on the use of reverse osmosis units;
  • is helping conduct spot checks of outer atoll health clinics and deliver sexual and reproductive health commodities;
  • installed a new salt-water reverse osmosis plant and built and commissioned salt water wells under the Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project;
  • provided emergency assistance in response to drought conditions in 2016 and 2017, and dengue in 2019; and
  • enabled 33 women and men gain tertiary qualifications linked to RMI's development priorities since 2012.

Our changing program

Following the conclusion of our important support to increase access to clean water and sanitation for residents on Ebeye, our aid program in RMI will continue to address two broad domains - building resilience and adaptation to the impacts of climate change, and enhancing human development, including through gender equality efforts and youth engagement.

Placing a high value on results, we will work with trusted partners to ensure development resources are effectively managed. We will also seek to mainstream climate action and disaster resilience, effectively address gender issues, and ensure people with disabilities participate in, and benefit from, our aid program.

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