Climate Change

Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner speaking at the UN Climate Leaders Summit in 2014

The Role of PIFS in Climate Change

Climate change is an immediate and serious threat to sustainable development and poverty eradication in many Pacific Island Countries, and for some their very survival. By their geography and mid-ocean location they are at the ‘frontline’. Yet these countries are amongst the least able to adapt and to respond; and the consequences they face, and already now bear, are significantly disproportionate to their collective miniscule contributions to global emissions.

Over the past few years, Forum Leaders have continuously reaffirmed that climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific. In their 2011 Communiqué, Leaders stressed the critical and urgent need for adaptation finance to enable Forum Island Countries (FICs) to respond to the adaptation needs of its people, in particular those already suffering, displaced or in danger of being displaced as a result of the detrimental impacts of climate change. They welcomed advice provided by Forum Economic Ministers on the options for accessing and managing climate change funding at their meeting in Apia in July 2011.

Leaders emphasised the need to secure appropriate governance arrangements, aid disbursement modalities and procedures which accommodate the particular constraints of FICs in the development of climate financing opportunities. They recognised the unique capacity constraints facing FICs, noting that capacity supplementation was critical to ensure they are able to effectively and sustainably respond to climate change. Leaders called on development partners, including global funds, to ensure that capacity funding for FICs is flexible and ideally channeled through national systems to support capacity supplementation and institutional strengthening, in addition to traditional capacity building efforts.

To advance this process, Leaders tasked the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), in collaboration with CROP and development partners, to explore a number of options and modalities including how they operate at the national level to assist FICs to effectively access and manage international climate change finance.

The work of PIFS in climate change is guided by the annual decisions of Forum Leaders, Ministers and Officials on this issue. Since 2010, this has largely focused on strengthening access to and management of climate change resources for member countries. Emphasis has been placed on accessing international climate change financing and facilitating improved management of these resources at the national level through national systems where possible.

In addition, PIFS is the permanent chair of CROP Executives and also co-chair of the CROP Executive Sub-Committee on Climate Change and Resilient Development. This is crucial for general coordination amongst CROP and development partners guided by the Pacific Plan and Leaders’ Decisions. PIFS is also a co-coordinator of the Resources Working Group of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR).

How PIFS is progressing the Forum Leaders’ Decisions

In response to directives on Climate Change Finance from Leaders and other related meetings, the Forum Secretariat developed a multi-tiered, multi-stakeholder approach to progress this work in collaboration with Member countries; CROP agencies, in particular SPREP and SPC; and other partners, including UNDP, AusAID, EU, USAID, ADB and World Bank. The approach focuses on efforts to: (i) identify relevant and appropriate climate change financing sources; (ii) effectively harness and utilise climate change resources in an informed way and using strengthened country systems, wherever possible, following principles of Aid Effectiveness and Development Coordination; (iii) address the necessary institutional and acute human capacity constraints facing most FICs, in particular SIS, to deal with climate change implications; and (iv) identify and/or strengthen delivery of climate change resources through proven and appropriate modalities commensurate with absorptive capacities of FICs

Based on previous, regional assessments (PIFS Options Paper 2011 & SPREP Paper 2011) and Pacific case studies of different financing modalities relevant to climate change financing (PIFS Pacific Experiences Booklet, Volume 1, 2012) as a starting point, a country focused analysis was pursued – known as the Nauru Case Study. The Nauru Case Study was designed by the Forum Secretariat in consultation with the Government of Nauru and a number of relevant stakeholders in the region (CROP agencies, development partners and community and private sector representatives). It aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the different dimensions involved in climate change financing, how this finance was implemented in Nauru, and the strengths of Nauru’s national systems. The leading supporting partners in the Nauru Case Study were UNDP and AusAID. You can download the full Report and the Executive Summary by clicking the links.

The Pacific Climate Change Finance Assessment Framework (PCCFAF) was developed through the Nauru Case Study and provided the overarching framework for the assessment. This framework builds on existing efforts and frameworks within the region including the CPEIR, Forum Compact and so forth. The PCCFAF assesses a country's ability to access and manage climate change resources against six interrelated dimensions: (i) Funding sources; (ii) Policies and plans; (iii) Institutions; (iv) Public financial management and expenditure; (v) Human capacity; and (vi) Development effectiveness.

The PCCFAF formed the basis of a Pacific Climate Change Finance Workshop in May 2013 in Nadi (Fiji), which brought three officials per FIC representing the Ministries of Finance and Treasury, Aid Coordination and Development Planning, and Climate Change. The workshop was organised by PIFS in partnership with SPREP and supported by a number of partners including AusAID, UNDP, USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific, SPC and other partners. 

In the first quarter of 2014, the PCCFAF was applied in the Republic of the Marshall Islands as a second national case study. This was a joint effort between PIFS, USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific, SPC-GCCA: PSIS, UNDP, PFTAC and the Government of the RMI. The final report is expected to be released around June 2014. There is also possibility that key aspects of the Framework will also be adopted to assess Tonga in the second half of 2014 in partnership with UNDP.

Other key areas of climate change finance work that CROP agencies, in particular PIFS, SPREP and SPC have continued to provide support for in the region include; providing support to PIC delegates under the UNFCCC negotiations on climate finance, development of a Regional Technical Support Mechanism (RTSM) on climate change, supporting the Pacific representatives on the international climate financing mechanisms including input to the development of the Green Climate Fund, ongoing support to access the GEF (including SCCF and LDCF) and the Adaptation Fund, exploring direct access capacity through accreditation of national implementing entity (NIE) status of PICTs to the Adaptation Fund. A number of countries in the region are currently pursuing NIE accreditation and SPREP has recently been accredited as a Regional Implementing Entity (RIE).

Other Links

  Click here to view the Pacific Climate Change Portal 

 Click here to view the Climate Funds Update

 Click here to view the video "Conscience Call: Climate Change in the Pacific"


PIFS work on Climate Change Finance in the region was also included as a case study in the recently published Commonwealth Governance Handbook 2013/14


Contacts for PIFS Climate Change Finance Team

Mr Exsley Taloiburi
A/Climate Change Finance Adviser
Tel: (679) 3220 281
Dr Scott Hook
Economic Infrastructure Adviser
Tel: (679) 3220 212
Ms Simone Stevenson
Oceans Management Officer
Tel: (679) 3220 276
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