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Pacific island countries have demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to enhancing their ability to access and manage climate change finance.
Speaking at a climate change finance event during the COP24 meetings in Poland this week, representatives from Samoa, Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Solomon Islands highlighted initiatives and tools their governments have been working with to strengthen their national processes for using climate finance for both mitigation and adaptation.
Samoa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and current Small Island Developing States representative to the Green Climate Fund, Ambassador Ali’ioiga Feturi Elisaia, said for 11 Pacific countries to access the Green Climate Fund was a positive indicator that the region is making the most of opportunities that exist and the region should continue to build on this momentum.
To date, Samoa has been the most successful Pacific island country in terms of accessing bilateral and multilateral climate finance. The Government of Cook Islands is the only Pacific country to have proven itself capable of direct access. It is now an accredited national implementing entity to both the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. Cook Islands Director of Climate Change, Wayne King, said that while some short-term project-based approaches to tackling climate change are proving effective, the region will ultimately gain greater benefit by investing in larger initiatives over longer time frames such as 20 and 30 years.
Both Kiribati and Solomon Islands have completed national climate finance assessments using the Pacific Climate Change Finance Assessment Framework and have recently established new climate finance units within their Ministries of Finance.
Barnabas Bago from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology of Solomon Islands highlighted the importance of durable and effective partnerships with national and international stakeholders to source climate finance, and then the need to monitor its spending on resilience projects and programmes.
Choi Yeeting, the National Climate Change Coordinator and Senior Policy Advisor on Climate Change for Kiribati, emphasised the need to be strategic about which funds are accessed and to be considerate of a country’s capacity to implement.
The “Pacific Small Islands Developing States Country Perspectives in Accessing Climate Change Finance”, was a COP24 side event held at the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion. It was a collaboration between the governments of the Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Kirbati, as well as members-owned regional agencies - the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Community (SPC), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
Country experiences shared at the event were built on the outcomes of multi-agency national climate finance assessments undertaken in ten Pacific countries over the past five years. Findings from the assessments have been collated into a booklet titled “Pacific Experiences with Options Relevant to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Finance”, which will be released this month.
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