Samoa is highly exposed to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, and floods. These damage economic growth and impact debt sustainability adversely. Increasing frequency and intensity of coastal storms are likely to amplify damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. Slow-moving climate stresses such as sea level rise and increasing heat hazard are also likely to impact potential growth in the main economic sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and tourism.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Robin Koepke, and Jasper Verschuur
This paper proposes an easy-to-follow approach to track merchandise trade using vessel data and applies it to Pacific island countries. Pacific islands rely heavily on imports and maritime transport for trade. They are also highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters that pose risks to ports and supply chains. Using satellite-based vessel tracking data from the UN Global Platform, we construct daily indicators of port and trade activity for Pacific island countries. The algorithm significantly advances estimation techniques of previous studies, particularly by employing ways to overcome challenges with the estimation of cargo payloads, using detailed information on shipping liner schedules to validate port calls, and applying country-specific information to define port boundaries. The approach can complement and help fill gaps in official data, provide early warning signs of turning points in economic activity, and assist policymakers and international organizations to monitor and provide timely responses to shocks (e.g., COVID-19).
Ezequiel Cabezon, Ms. Leni Hunter, Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, Kazuaki Washimi, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
Natural disasters and climate change are interrelated macro-critical issues affecting all Pacific small states to varying degrees. In addition to their devastating human costs, these events damage growth prospects and worsen countries’ fiscal positions. This is the first cross-country IMF study assessing the impact of natural disasters on growth in the Pacific islands as a group. A panel VAR analysis suggests that, for damage and losses equivalent to 1 percent of GDP, growth drops by 0.7 percentage point in the year of the disaster. We also find that, during 1980-2014, trend growth was 0.7 percentage point lower than it would have been without natural disasters. The paper also discusses a multi-pillar framework to enhance resilience to natural disasters at the national, regional, and multilateral levels and the importance of enhancing countries’ risk-management capacities. It highlights how this approach can provide a more strategic and less ad hoc framework for strengthening both ex ante and ex post resilience and what role the IMF can play.