A US$50 million pledge from Saudi Arabia has opened the investor search for a new US$500 million Pacific Resilience Fund (PRF) to build resilience against disaster.

The pledge was announced by Minister for Tourism and Chair of the Saudi Fund for Development, Ahmed Al Khateeb to Leaders at the Dialogue Partners sessions of the 52nd Forum Leaders Meeting in Rarotonga.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have endorsed the regional initiative as the first Member-led and owned regional community resilience financing facility.

“The wisdom and vision of Pacific Leaders to set up the PRF is a game changer in that it is an investment vehicle built on a solid foundation of international financial standards and best practices, that will generate returns to finance community resilience more sustainably, without creating additional debt for Pacific countries,” said PIF Secretary General, Henry Puna.

The high-level Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity dialogue attracted investor support for the USD $500 million initial funding target for the PRF.

“The early pledging support, especially from non-traditional partners is a great indication of the expanding interest in the Pacific, from climate finance investors who are interested to participate in our cause and are looking for credible and efficient ways to invest into the region,” said SG Puna.

He said the PRF offers assurance for investor capital. It will cover 16 developing member nations of the 18-member Forum.

The facility will have a broad resilience financing mandate for Pacific at risk communities, ranging from climate adaptation, disaster preparedness and response, loss and damage, nature-based solutions, resilience aspects of sustainable development goals, and non-infrastructure community resilience.

Pacific countries are facing complex post Covid-19 socio-economic geopolitical challenges. Forum high level endorsement of the PRF, alongside the Implementation Plan of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, affirms the importance of the PRF as a transformative regional resourcing mechanism to help finance the development aspirations of the Pacific region.

In the lead-up to the Leaders Meeting, the preparatory set-up of the PRF had received funding commitments from key partners, including Australia and the United States, demonstrating investor confidence in the PRF.

Forum Dialogue Partner, the People’s Republic of China’s has also committed an initial support of USD$0.5 million for the PRF.

With the Pacific region facing an unprecedented climate emergency, the PRF’s targeted focus on community resilience will play an important role to leave no one behind as part of the Pacific’s inclusive and holistic response to addressing extreme and relentless climatic and disaster shocks.