Cook Islands + 10 more

UNICEF welcomes US$9M contribution from Japan to support Pacific island countries during global pandemic

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SUVA, Fiji, 24 March 2021 - UNICEF welcomes a US$9 million contribution from the Government and the people of Japan that will strengthen the vaccine cold chain, and the logistics capacity, to address the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in ten countries in the Pacific region. These countries are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

“In recognition of the importance of ensuring equitable access and swift distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the Government of Japan has decided to assist ten Pacific island countries. This assistance will provide the recipient countries with medical and cold chain equipment such as cold-storage facilities and transportation, as part of the ‘Last One Mile Support’ to ensure vaccination in each country through UNICEF,” said His Excellency, Mr. Fumihiro Kawakami, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Fiji. “I believe that this assistance will contribute to the safe delivery of vaccines in the recipient countries. It will further complement the efforts of the COVAX facility, to which Japan has announced its financial contribution of 200 million US dollars.”

UNICEF has been working with Pacific governments to help prevent the spread of the virus among communities, as well as supporting the vital procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.

These funds will strengthen the capacity of these countries’ governments to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context of achieving universal health coverage, through the procurement of cold chain equipment and the strengthening of the institutional capacity to manage the equipment during the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines over a 12-month period throughout 2021–22.

“We thank the Government of Japan for its continued and strengthened partnership with UNICEF to support the Pacific region through the global pandemic,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We will continue to work with the host governments, WHO and other partners, to ensure their health system is well prepared to respond appropriately to the on-going threat of this pandemic.”

This funding is part of the broader Japanese Emergency Grant Aid of approximately US$41 million to 25 countries* in the Southeast and Southwest Asia and the Pacific.

Notes to Editors:

*The 25 countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

About the Government of Japan:

Japan provides funds (grants, loans, etc.) and technologies that are useful for “development”, including peacebuilding, governance, promotion of basic human rights and humanitarian assistance, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to eligible countries and regions. ODA includes bilateral aid to directly assist developing countries and regions, and multilateral aid, which consist of contributions to international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, and WHO.

For more information, please contact:
Peni Saurara, Embassy of Japan in Fiji, +679 3304633, peni.saurara@fj.mofa.go.jp or eojeconomics@fj.mofa.go.jp

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org