USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn, Deputy Mission Director Betty Chung, and UNICEF Pacific Chief of Health and Nutrition Dr. Ahmadu Yakubu observed a pediatric measles vaccination at the Nausori Health Center.
SUVA, October 12, 2022 – Following the announcement of the reestablishment of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) regional mission for the Pacific Islands in Fiji during the United States-Pacific Summit, the Mission Director from USAID in the Philippines, Pacific Islands, and Mongolia, Ryan Washburn and Deputy Mission Director Betty Chung arrived in Suva to meet with Fijian government officials and development partners.
“As President Biden announced at the U.S.-Pacific Island Countries Summit in September, USAID is a committed partner with Pacific Island Countries,” Mission Director Washburn said. “By re-establishing a Pacific Regional Mission within the framework of the U.S. Embassy in Suva, USAID aims to strengthen the economic and social development priorities of Pacific Islanders, including in the 2050 Strategy for the blue continent of the Pacific.
During their first official trip to Fiji, Mission Director Washburn and Deputy Mission Director Chung spoke with Fiji Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan about USAID’s expanding partnership with Fiji and the Pacific , and how USAID’s work has supported mutual development priorities.
USAID also met with representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and high commissioners and advisers from Tuvalu, Nauru, and Samoa to discuss how the United States, through USAID, is supporting development goals for Pacific island countries, as outlined in the Pacific Blue Continent Strategy 2050 and USAID’s recently released Pacific Islands Strategic Framework. In addition, USAID has strengthened coordination to support the development priorities of Pacific island nations with representatives from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Korea, Japan, and the United Nations Secretariat. the Pacific Community.
Mission Director Washburn and Deputy Mission Director Chung also visited a measles and COVID vaccination clinic supported by USAID and UNICEF. To help combat COVID-19, the United States, through USAID, provided emergency medical equipment and supplies, implemented risk communication campaigns, trained health workers and supported mass vaccination campaigns. USAID also partners with UNICEF and the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services to conduct measles vaccination campaigns.
USAID leadership spoke with government officials and civil society organizations about their efforts, challenges, and opportunities to combat human trafficking. Through the Pacific Regional Initiative and Support for More Effective Counter Trafficking in Persons (Pacific RISE-CTIP) project, the United States, through a USAID partnership with the Asia Foundation, aims to strengthen the preventing, protecting and prosecuting human trafficking in Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga through a multi-sectoral approach that engages government, civil society and the private sector.
This USAID leadership trip underscores the importance of Fiji as a future USAID regional mission and local partnerships to build a more prosperous and resilient society for all Pacific Islanders.