The Kiwa Initiative launches new projects and additional contributions from its donors to strengthen climate resilience in the Pacific region

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In the margins of the Kiwa Initiative Steering Committee meeting chaired by Canada, the Kiwa Initiative awarded grants to ten local projects in the Pacific Island Countries, as well as launched the third Kiwa regional project implemented by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The Kiwa Initiative – Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate resilience aims at strengthening the climate change resilience of Pacific Islands ecosystems, communities and economies through NbS, by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring biodiversity. The Initiative, launched in 2020 with EUR 31million and endowed now with EUR 57million (FJD$ 133million), is funded by the European Union (EU), Agence française de développement (AFD), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The Kiwa Initiative has established partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Regional Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN ORO).

The IUCN ORO manages local projects for the small to medium-sized grants, specifically targeting local communities. Under this partnership, 10 projects from civil society organisations, national authorities and international NGOs who are supporting local communities in conservation and climate change adaptation effort have been awared grants. These include Ministry of Waterways – Fiji , Samoa Conservation Society, Lamacca Climate Change Association – Vanuatu, Community Centred Conservation – Fiji, National Trust of Fiji, Ebiil Society – Palau, Tonga National Youth Congress, Vanuatu Business Resilience Council, Birdlife International – Solomon Islands, Blue Ventures Conservation – Timor Leste.

“The funding support by the donors of the Kiwa Initiative including EU, AFD, Australia, Canada and New Zealand is indeed timely as the region continues to deal with the challenges posed by climate change. The IUCN Kiwa Initiative team based in Suva Fiji will ensure that we achieve the goal of improving Pacific Islands ecosystems, economies and communities’ resilience to climate change through improved ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation using Nature-based Solutions via grants and technical assistance. It has been a difficult choice to select these ten local projects for Pacific Island Countries as we received 127 concept notes. We are about to select more local projects in the French OCTs, and we also plan to launch a second call for local projects before the end of the year.” said Mason Smith, Regional Director for IUCN Oceania.

A new Regional project supported

The Kiwa “WISH+” new regional project of EUR 4.8 million will focus on integrated watershed management and will be implemented by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at key sites in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. This project will intervene in targeted watershed and coral reef areas in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape (in Fiji) and the Bismarck-Solomon Seascape (in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands).

Dr Stacy Jupiter, Regional director for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), said “WCS and our partners really appreciate the focus of the Kiwa Initiative on using Nature-based Solutions to simultaneously achieve multiple benefits for nature, people and climate. We are excited to be launching the next phase of our Watershed Interventions for Systems Health (WISH+) where we will work with communities and government to better manage watersheds for healthy people and healthy places”.

A renewed commitment from the Initiative’s donors

The Initiative’s donors have also renewed their financial support, raising the current budget from EUR 41 million to EUR 57 million. France is providing an additional contribution of EUR 8 million, the European Union EUR 6 million, New Zealand NZD 2 million and Australia AUD 2 million. The coalition of donors thus shows its commitment to climate change adaptation and biodiversity in one of the regions most affected by climate impacts. The increase in their contributions will strengthen the actions of the Initiative, whose mission aims to to implement projects targeting Nature-based Solutions for climate change adaptation in the Pacific while mainstreaming gender equality and a human-rights-based approach.

“The €8M additional French contribution to the Kiwa Initiative through its Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, on top of its previous funding of €18M, illustrates the commitment of France towards climate change adaptation and is in line with our Indopacific strategy in Oceania where we encourage the regional cooperation with French territories via the Agence française de développement. This Indopacific strategy intends to address the issues raised by the 51st Pacific Islands Forum last week in Fiji where the Pacific Leaders declared the “Pacific is facing a Climate Emergency that threatens the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of its people and ecosystems”, declared François-Xavier Léger, Ambassador of France to Fiji.

Sujiro Seam, Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific said, “The European Union invests an additional €6 M on top of its previous contribution of almost €14M in the Kiwa initiative because it is a success story. A success story for the implementation of the European Union Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific; a success story for the cooperation with like-minded countries, Australia, Canada, France and New Zealand on climate action and environment protection; a success story for the partnership with Governments, Regional Organisations and Civil society organisations and a success story of an initiative which can make a difference at the local, national and regional levels”.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to confirm our further contribution of NZD2 million to the Kiwa Initiative. Nature-based solutions to increase Pacific resilience to climate change are an area of keen interest for us, and investment in biodiversity is a priority area in our International Climate Finance Strategy, due to be launched next month. We are very pleased to be continuing this important work with our donor partners, our sub-regional Pacific representatives, and with the support of SPREP, SPC and IUCN”, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“Australia stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our Pacific family in tackling the climate crisis. Australia’s additional $2 million contribution to the Kiwa Initiative is a clear demonstration of this commitment. We appreciate France’s leadership of this initiative, bringing together a range of donors to promote biodiversity and address climate change in the region.” said – Annelise Young, Consul-General of Australia to New Caledonia.

The Kiwa Initiative, managed by the Agence française de développement (AFD), builds both local and national capacities, promotes approaches that are sensitive to social vulnerability and gender inequality and fosters dialogue amongst donors, regional organisations and countries and territories to improve Official Development Assistance coordination….PACNEWS

SOURCE: IUCN/PACNEWS