25 June 2021, online— Government officials and policymakers across Asia and the Pacific have discussed new and innovative climate finance instruments geared towards scaling up climate finance for COVID-19 recovery.
The workshop supports efforts to build back from the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asia and Pacific Small Island Developing States. Officials from a range of Pacific countries and international organisations shared their experiences and challenges related to climate finance flows to the Pacific, country needs, and innovative financing instruments such as sustainability-linked bonds and debt-for-climate and resilience swaps.
Dr Filimon Manoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum in his keynote address said that the region is faced with a three-pronged crisis: the health impact, the existential threat from climate change and the consequent economic downturn. He further added that timely access to grant-based and scaled-up climate financing is critical to assist Forum Island Countries in their recovery from the pandemic and respond to the heightening effects of climate change.
In 2019, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders reaffirmed climate change as the single greatest threat facing the Blue Pacific region. Innovative climate financing instruments are an important catalyst for providing the necessary funding for the Pacific to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), has called for sustainable financing that prioritises investment in resilient economies through targeted fiscal and monetary policies, in the context of building back better from the pandemic in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “We need to create fiscal space and explore alternate sources of innovative financing,” she said.
SIDS in the Pacific have access to only about 4.6 per cent of all the climate funds mobilized for the Asia-Pacific region. In the past 10 years, just over US$2.2 billion of climate finance has been approved for Pacific SIDS. This presents a financing gap from the scale required.
The workshop outcomes will inform discussions at the forthcoming Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in July, the Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development in October and the ESCAP regional workshop on resource mobilization in Asia-Pacific countries in special situations in December.-