Climate Financing for the Pacific still low

Mr Aholotu Palu speaking at the event this morning in Sigatoka. Photo: GIZ Media

Sigatoka, Fiji – June 25, 2019: 5.45pm (Enviro News): Climate Financing to the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) is quite low, in comparison to other countries around the world.

Speaking at the Regional Climate Change Finance Meetings and Regional Media Training here at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Hotel in Sigatoka, Mr ‘Aholotu Palu, the former Acting Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in Nuku’alofa, said more needs to be done to ensure that the Pacific is accessing funds that are available.

“Unfortunately, the Pacific’s accessibility to climate finance is still inadequate. The Climate Change Disaster Risk Fund assessment, conducted in ten countries, found that these countries received an estimation of about US$1.5b for CCDR related activities in the past six years,” he said.

“A 2017 Stockholm Environment Institute Report states that just US$648 million trickled down to the 14 Pacific Island Countries between 2010 and 2014. 

“The completed CCDRF assessments also showed that to achieve an economy-wide transformation, climate actions need to be integrated into the whole Public Finance Management system, particularly the planning and budgeting processes and to the oversight governance institutions, which includes Monitoring and Evaluation and project management.

“This resonates with the objectives of the development and adoption of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), under the Blue Pacific narratives, which is a high level strategic guidance to different stakeholders on how to enhance resilience to climate change and disasters.”

Mr Palu, who is the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or GIZ officer, said the sigatoka meeting over the next three days was a critical one.

“We are here in Sigatoka to share an implementation update, lessons learnt, challenges faced and solutions to mitigate those challenges and, more importantly, to pave our way forward,” he said. 

“GIZ has been in the region long enough to practically comprehend the needs of Forum Island Countries in coping with climate change through various initiatives for sustainable energy, forest conservation, marine and coastal biodiversity management, and human mobility- to name a few.”

Mr Palu said that Climate Change is the single greatest threat faced by our region.

He said the costs of climate change in the Pacific are substantial.

“Studies show that the adaptation cost for coastal protection in Pacific will be US$234 million per year by 2020 and US$285 million per year by 2040 – and that is a best-case scenario,” he added.

Guest speaker Mr Mike Goldman said American assistance to Pacific countries continues, even in the Climate Finance sector.

He said his government still values the Pacific and the work that is being done in the region.

Meanwhile, panelists at the ‘Climate Finance Panel Discussions on Sharing Experiences on Climate and Disaster Risk Finance’ said managing funds, monitoring how it is used and tracking to see that funds made available are used for those who need them the most is important.

Forum Climate Finance Officer Susan Sulu told the media that climate finance management and tracking were important in Pacific Island Countries.

She said the Forum has worked with partners such as GIZ, SPREP, Pacific Community (SPC) and others to help countries with these important areas.

This assistance has been targeted towards helping respective countries’ Public Finance Management Systems.

OXFAM’s Mr Jale Samuwai said their view is that climate funding that have been given to countries are not reaching the most vulnerable.

Facilitators and media reps at the Climate Financing Media Masterclass this morning in Sigatoka. Photo: GIZ Media

He said this was evidence based and they are working with their members on ensuring they have the capacity to carry out their work by interacting with governments better and finding the best way forward.

Mr Samuwai added governments need to look at other funding options that are avaialble, apart from the Green Climate Fund.

The meeting proper starts tomorrow morning.

Members of the Pacific media are covering the event with the support of the Griffiths University of Australia, the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme in partnership with the Pacific Environment Journalists Network.

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