By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Cook Islands Prime Minister and Pacific Islands Forum Chair Mark Brown has announced at the COP28 side event in Dubai that the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) is scheduled to commence operations by 2025.

Brown emphasised the need for a focus on resilience and adaptation while the global community works towards achieving carbon reduction targets to stay at 1.5 degrees.

Speaking at the sideline event, PM Brown clarified the role of the PRF.

“It’s not a magic bullet for us. All it’s gonna do is buy us time; it’s a facility for financing, that targets specific needs for Pacific countries.”

He highlighted the endorsement of the PRF declaration at the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Rarotonga, where leaders committed to legally establishing the facility in 2024, with full operational readiness in 2025.

“We will legally establish the PRF next year in 2024 and will be ready for business in 2025,” PM Brown said.

The PRF, described as a Pacific-led, member-owned, climate and disaster preparedness community financing facility, aims to create a regional grant financing mechanism generating investment income for community resilience initiatives.

Brown also extended an invitation to the international community, especially developed countries and friends of the Pacific to invest in the PRF.

He emphasised its role as a demonstration of Pacific leadership in the climate change battle.

“The Facility is our united political will to act decisively, providing a first-of-its-kind regional financing solution that can scale up, be a transformative catalyst, and be a game-changer for the Pacific,” said PM Brown.

He also appealed for support to reach the US$500 million target, revealing that US$50.5 million had already been pledged by Saudi Arabia, leaving a gap of US$449.5 million.

PM Brown also acknowledged Australia, China, and the U.S for their pledges to fund the establishment of the PRF.

Australia pledge AUD$2.8 million and the United States US$4.5 million for the setting up of the PRF facility.

He emphasised the importance of international collaboration to address the unique challenges faced by Pacific nations in the face of climate change.