Invited by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), GHD recently took part in high-profile dialogues between Pacific Island governments and Australian and US businesses at the 2019 Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meeting, in Nadi, Fiji.
This is the first time in 52 years that the ADB Annual Meeting was held in the Pacific, and this year’s focus was “Prosperity through Unity”, drawing close to 3000 delegates from all over the world.
GHD, represented by Sioban Hartwell and Tim Stats, shared our project experience in the Cook Islands to emphasise the importance of community and stakeholder engagement for successful project implementation in the Pacific.
“The ADB Annual Meeting gave us the opportunity to show how these international development assistance projects are delivered with a difference,” says Sioban, GHD’s NZ Market Leader – Water. “Developing technical solutions to water and environmental issues can be relatively straightforward. The challenge is to engage the local community in a meaningful and authentic way, because without their support, there would be no project.”
Sioban says that community support and developing trust are particularly important in the Pacific, where projects traverse land divided up into many small plots or introduce tariffs that are necessary to maintain the infrastructure to people who have never had to pay for these services before.
“GHD is investing in Asia Pacific through our international development hubs in Canberra, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Guam and the Philippines, and by bringing in the wide range of capabilities from our wider business in Australia and globally. We want to continue to be a key partner in the development of the region,” says Ben White, GHD’s Asia Pacific Market Leader.