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SG Slade's Remarks at the Pacific Climate Change Financing Workshop,Nadi, Fiji

Introductory Remarks

Tuiloma Neroni Slade
Secretary General
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat 

Pacific Climate Change Financing Workshop

Thursday 30 May - Saturday 01 June, 2013

Tanoa Hotel, Nadi, Fiji

 

The Director, Climate Change Division, SPREP

Ambassadors/High Commissioners of the region

Representatives of CROP agencies

Senior Officials

Colleagues

Welcome

On behalf of the co-hosts of this workshop, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, I am honoured and very pleased to welcome you all here today.  We appreciate your taking time away from your busy schedules to discuss and develop ideas on climate change financing, the important focus of this gathering.

If I may, I extend special words of welcome to the distinguished Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Samoa to the United Nations, H.E. Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, who is, among other important offices he bears, the Alternate SIDS representative on the Board of the Green Climate Fund, and to thank him sincerely for his outstanding efforts on behalf of our region, indeed, of all SIDS regions, in the establishment of the Fund.   

I want also to thank AusAID and USAID for their generosity in providing the resources for the holding of this workshop.  Similarly, to the many country and partner stakeholders which/who have contributed to this work over the years, many of whom have agreed to be key resource persons throughout this climate change financing week, I extend warm appreciation for your continued commitment and efforts.  All this reflects a truly collaborative partnership approach to dealing with an issue of considerable seriousness and urgency for our region: securing adequate and efficient resourcing for effective responses to climate change.

Forum Leaders have given affirmation of the dangers of climate change – to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific – and have called for collective support from us all, and in particular from Ministers of the Environment and Ministers of Economic affairs of the region, and of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, to strengthen the abilities of Pacific island countries to effectively access and manage climate change financing. 

While efforts in this area span at least the last decade or more, the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 has become the significant turning point in highlighting climate change financing as an issue which warrants particular focus. 

The financing pledges of Copenhagen, as we all know, specifically the 30 billion in fast start funding from 2010 to 2012, and up to 100 billion per annum by 2020, have excited interest and expectations from all stakeholders.  They have focused attention on: how effectively to harness and utilise these resources; how to ensure adequate resourcing to the most vulnerable; the delivery of resources through modalities commensurate with absorptive capacities; and the generation and sustainability of the necessary resources to meet raised expectations.

All questions validly posed; alas, none without a simple or straightforward answer or solution.  Working as a region, together with SPREP, member countries and other partners, we in the Forum Secretariat have sought to pool efforts to coordinate a number of initiatives in response to Leaders requests and to address some of these questions.

Our gathering today is essentially the first focused climate change financing workshop designed to cover the array of significant efforts undertaken to date and by way of addressing some of these questions.  The workshop is aimed at bringing participants up to date on this body of work and contextualising it within country specific circumstances – where, ultimately, these questions can be most satisfactorily and effectively addressed. 

Scene setting

In broad scope, Pacific island countries face a range of challenges, challenges of immediacy and of compounding complexity.  Their situation of exposure and vulnerability is widely and well acknowledged: smallness, isolation, acute capacity limitation and inability to cope with global economic instabilities, the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.  It is a situation severely complicated and compounded by the mounting demands of modern and sustainable development. These are the factors which combine to render risk management and planning and response efforts particularly taxing and complex for Pacific island countries, as they are for their development partners.

Donor partners, on their part, having made significant pledges for addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation needs are also facing demands from both recipient countries and their own tax payers to account for these pledges.  The global financial crisis and mounting implications of climate change impacts on their own countries are bringing overseas aid allocations under significant scrutiny.  As to be expected, tax payers want a clearer understanding of the benefits of their investments.

In and around these demand and supply-side perspectives, lies a complex web of international and regional institutions and national stakeholders: UN agencies, multilateral Banks, CROP organisations, civil society, etc.  Some financing, some implementing, and all with good intentions albeit demanding attention to their own arrangements to give clear direction on where best to support country responses to climate change.  By any measure this is not an environment of easy coherence for Pacific island countries, donors or other stakeholders to operate in with any degree of certainty over a sustainable timeframe.  But we need to simplify this web as best we can, and work to align efforts as much as possible.  I believe we are all in agreement that fundamentally, our reference point of convergence should be based on country driven identification of priorities and requests for support.  Our hope is that this workshop might provide a step in the right direction towards this goal.

Defining climate change finance

The lack of an internationally recognised definition of ‘climate change finance’ has added to the complexity of effectively tracking, quantifing, planning for and managing climate change financing.  Developing countries continue to request that climate change finance is ‘new and additional’ to existing ODA pledges, reflective of the new and additional challenges posed by climate change.  Developed country parties to the UNFCCC have accounted for their climate change finance commitments in different ways, some differentiating between new and additional climate change resources and others not.  This debate will no doubt continue to play out under the UNFCCC and global ODA discussions.  Rather than engaging in the discourse for the sake of debate, perhaps the more productive task at this workshop might be to look at feasible options to maximise access to and utilisation of available resources for the benefit of countries of our region.

For practical purposes, we have found that the most meaningful definition of what constitutes ‘climate change finance’ should be based on the country’s own climate change needs, and draw from all sources of funding available – be they global, bilateral or domestic.  Indeed, tracking the range of available resources through national systems will help countries better decipher where different funding sources can support the national portfolio of climate change needs.  Ultimately, this will help to inform negotiations on the need for increased external finance sources, and/or where domestic resources might be best leveraged.

Holistic approach to dealing with effective resourcing for climate change

Development challenges and climate change implications are intertwined, often coterminous, as are the resources and efforts at country level to address them.  An holistic approach to assess how best to effectively harness the necessary resources and apply them in an integrated and sustainable way needs to be considered in country specific circumstances.  While many initiatives have been undertaken to address aspects of climate change financing, a core part of the Secretariat’s response has been to develop a comprehensive assessment approach at country level to determine the necessary options and steps to strengthen Pacific island countries’ ability to better harness and more effectively utilise resources against their climate change needs.  This approach has been developed through significant consultation with member countries, development partners and other stakeholders and will be the focus of a considerable part of your work over the next few days. 

We have documented this assessment approach as the Pacific Climate Change Financing Assessment Framework.  This framework methodology covers six key dimensions of assessment: i) funding sources; ii) policies and plans; iii) institutions; iv) public financial management and expenditure; v) human capacity; and vi) development effectiveness.  Country specific analysis across these key dimensions is designed to assess the feasibility of applicable options to strengthen targeted access to funding sources through modalities of access and management arrangements commensurate with the needs and capacities of respective countries and their own systems.

Desired outcomes

Our aim and hope is that this workshop and the following ADAPT meeting next Monday and Tuesday, will help to inform all stakeholders of the key considerations required to deploy targeted efforts in climate change financing from all stakeholders perspectives, and firmly guided by Pacific island country systems.  It is a ‘work shop’, because it requires considerable work from everyone to ensure you leave with tangible plans on a way forward, and with a good idea of who/what is available and willing to support you and your respective countries in taking these efforts forward.

I wish you all success in your efforts, and look forward to the outcomes of this workshop and the ADAPT meeting.  We will use these outcomes to inform the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, Economic Ministers, and Forum Leaders of the progress we have collectively made in this important area of climate change financing, and the future direction for countries of our region.

Thank you. 

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