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Policy report

The economic and social damage wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic threatens a Pacific ‘lost decade’. The Pacific has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic because of its heavy reliance on a few key income sources, which have been badly affected by the crisis, especially international tourism. Even when the pandemic has eventually been brought under control and vaccines become widely available, the Pacific’s economic and developmental progress is likely to have been permanently set back. More people will be left struggling or unable to meet their basic needs and the prospects for a more prosperous, stable, and secure region will be greatly reduced.

Key findings:

  • The Pacific faces a potential ‘lost decade' owing to the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and an inability to finance the scale of government largesse needed to limit the damage.
  • A multi-year ‘recovery package’ of at least US$3.5 billion (A$5.0 billion) is needed for the Pacific to fully recover from the pandemic. This should be funded by the region’s official development partners.
  • Australia should establish a US$1.4 billion (A$2 billion) COVID-19 Pacific recovery financing facility, and advocate for other parts of the international community to follow its lead in contributing to the Pacific’s economic recovery. Once Australia has stepped up its own Pacific recovery financing contribution, it will be in a much stronger position to call on other development partners to do the same.


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