By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE
The Director of Programmes and Initiatives at the Pacific Islands Forum, Zarak Khan Friday expressed his exciting response to Australia’s announcement of a major AUD$100 million pledge to the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF).
“It’s an emotional moment for all of us. We’ve been involved almost seven years with the support of leaders and ministers of supervision,”
Khan explained that the PRF is a response to the challenges faced by Pacific nations in accessing climate financing in a timely and efficient manner.
He emphasised the difficulty of meeting the onerous requirements set by multilateral institutions without considering the capacity gaps of small countries.
“The PRF is an embodiment of the leaders’ vision, and to have the major announcement of AUD$100 million is a very encouraging sign that we are going in the right direction,” Khan said.
He said that Australia’s commitment builds on the initial pledge of US$50 million from Saudi Arabia, indicating positive momentum for the PRF.
Khan also mentioned plans for a future pledging event next year, with the support of the United Nations General Secretary António Guterres and Forum Secretary-General, Henry Puna.
Speaking on the wider impact, Khan highlighted the PRF’s role in addressing shortfalls in the international financing landscape.
“PRF is our way of trying to set the scene in terms of the direction that we want the international community to be heading,” he explained.
Khan stressed the importance of Loss and Damage in the current discussions, and that the Pacific Resilient Facility has been endorsed by Pacific Leaders as the regional loss and damage window for accessing funding in the future.
The facility is positioned to disperse and implement funds in a way that recognises the cultural differences, capacity gaps, and nuances of the Pacific region.
“This is probably going to go down as one of the most historic COP for us based on some of the progress that we made around PRF, gender issues, and climate financing,” Khan said.
He also highlighted the significance of these developments for the Pacific region.