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The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga has used discussions at the High Level Dialogue with the visiting United Nations Secretary General in Suva this week to highlight his concerns about the criteria used by global funding institutions that support climate adaptation funding.
Responding to questions from the media Wednesday, the Prime Minister Sopoaga urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to clarify this concern when he convenes his global climate action summit in New York in September this year.
“It’s not enough to just have access to international financing by the Green Climate Fund because this is governed by a totally different perception to the practical response to climate change. For example, Tuvalu got the approval for its coastal adaptation project two or three years ago from the Green Climate Fund. Now we are still struggling to deal with the perception of terminology because of the difference of understanding of coastal protect vis-a-vis land reclamation.
“We hope the Summit in New York through the efforts of the Secretary General will further clarify this, PM Sopoaga put to Guterres at the media conference in Suva Wednesday.
Tuvalu, he said acknowledges the Pacific representation on the Green climate Fund Board, led by Ambassador Feturi of Samoa, whose term in the Fund resulted in Tuvalu receiving support for coastal adaptation support.
“But we are stuck with perception of definition – of coastal protection or reclamation. What’s wrong with reclamation because that is exactly what we are doing in the islands – to reclaim in order to protect our baselines in the islands, said the Tuvaluan PM.
The US$38.9 million coastal adaptation project was approved in 2016 to build Tuvalu’s coastal resilience in three of the islands nine inhabited island and manage coastal inundation risks. According to the project, 2,780m of high value vulnerable coastline will be protected, reducing the impact of increasingly intensive wave action on key infrastructure.
The project will build on existing initiatives, using a range of measures for coastal protection including beach nourishment, concrete and rock revetments, and sea walls.
Despite delays in implementing the project, Tuvalu is adopting transformative changes – working closely with its Pacific neighbours to address its climate change needs.
“What we are doing in Tuvalu and I thank Nauru for providing us boulders for reclamation and coastal protection for our islands. We are also using boulders from Fiji and the sand from our shores for this purpose. It’s about transformative change and intermarrying of resources from these islands and working with each other.
The Secretary General of the United Nations held a high level dialogue with Pacific Islands Leaders at the Forum Secretariat in Suva Wednesday before he was due to address the Fijian Parliament today.
On Friday, Guterres will make a one day visit to Tuvalu to see first-hand the climate pressures affecting the small island nation with a population of just over 11,000 people.
It’s the UN Secretary General’s visit to the Pacific since taking office in January 2017.
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