The Asian Development Bank inaugurated the opening of its first north pacific office in Palau last night at the PDC building in downtown Koror.

The historic event was marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony witnessed by Palau’s President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., ADB’s Deputy Director General Jim Lynch (Pacific Department) and representatives from ADB, members of Palau national congress, traditional leaders, states leaders, development partners, ministers and representatives of various agencies.

Palau became a member of Asian Development Bank nearly 17 years ago, according to Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang.  He added that the establishment of ADB’s north pacific regional office in Palau is a testament to that relationship. Minister Sadang said that the establishment of ADB’s office in Palau fulfills its goals, one of which is alleviating poverty.

President Remengesau Jr., who signed Palau’s membership with ADB in 2003 during his earlier term, gave special remarks at the opening of ADB’s first north pacific office.  “ADB has been a major partner in Palau’s development, providing technical assistance, projects worth millions of dollars, and loans worth over $80 million dollars,” stated President Remengesau Jr. “ADB has been especially involved in helping Palau develop its information and communications technology infrastructure, public management capabilities, and water and urban infrastructure.”

Some of the projects especially noted include Koror-Airai Sanitation Project, development of Palau’s fiscal capacity and helping Palau to attain its renewable energy goals.  “ADB’s decision to maintain a permanent physical presence here in Palau demonstrates the bank’s commitment to helping Palau reach its development needs, overcome any development risks and vulnerabilities,” asserted Remengesau.

Remengesau said he was assured that having ADB’s permanent office in Palau, the bank would have more oversight on the projects ensuring their timely completion and within budget.

ADB’s Deputy Director General Jim Lynch in his remarks expressed confidence that the establishment of their north pacific office in Palau marked a new chapter in a close relationship of ADB with the government and the people of Palau and a brighter future for Palau. (L.N. Reklai)