The following OPENING REMARKS to the MELANESIA PRIVATE SECTOR WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE FINANCE were delivered via zoom on 21 September 2021 by Dr FILIMON MANONI, DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL of the PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM
Hon. Bruno Leignkone Tau, Minister of Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Meteorology & Geo-hazards and Disaster Risk Management
Mr George Hoa’au, Acting Director General, Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat
Senior government officials from Vanuatu and Melanesia
Distinguished members of the Private Sector
Our partners from outside and within the region
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon and greetings from Suva.
I’m pleased to join you today on behalf of the Secretary General Henry Puna along with our co-host the Government of Vanuatu, to warmly welcome you to the second Melanesian Sub-regional Private Sector Workshop on Climate Finance. I was hoping to meet you in person through a face-to-face meeting, but the prolonged impacts of COVID-19 meant continuing with meetings using virtual platforms.
As you are aware, this workshop is a follow-up from the workshop held in Papua New Guinea in April 2018 and is part of the ongoing efforts by the Forum Secretariat to strengthen the role of the private sector in climate change finance, with the sub-regional workshops a means for dialogue between the private sector and government officials as well as with partners.
Ladies and gentlemen, the underlying messages coming through from these sub-regional workshops, include accessing climate finance as an opportunity to strengthen public private partnerships, addressing the cumbersome processes to access climate finance and the opportunities for scaling up through sub-regional approaches where feasible. At times like this with our Blue Pacific region experiencing an onset of cascading hazards and natural disasters inclusive of the COVID-19 pandemic, these platforms are key to elevate discussions towards innovative resilience financing opportunities to support a recovery process that is climate-smart and resilient for sub-regions and individual nations.
The Regional Policy Context
Further, it’s an opportunity to take stock as a sub-region and what we can leverage as a collective that would benefit our individual countries. We have always acknowledged the private sector as a driver of economic growth if given the opportunity, but what does that mean in the context of climate change and other natural hazards that are impacting our sub-region? Are there opportunities to leverage financing from global climate funds and what are we doing as a sub-region to maximise those opportunities?
These are unprecedented times indeed, and requires coming together as a collective, not only at the regional and sub-regional levels, but also at the national and community levels, to work as one towards development that is resilient and sustainable for our people, our nations and our region. Our Leaders have continually emphasised the strength in the collective and have put in place a strong foundation for our collective actions through the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the 2050 Strategy which will form the basis for our collective ambition as a region. The Boe Declaration expands the concept of security to include climate change and disaster risks acknowledging that climate change can put our development efforts and future at risk. This is further emphasised through the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific and its complementary Pacific Resilience Partnership which recognise d a multi-stakeholder response to climate change and disaster risks.
This workshop is part of these ongoing efforts bringing together the public and private sector including partners that have the expertise and actively support genuine and durable public private partnerships that are beneficial for our region and countries.
Role of the Private Sector
Whilst we acknowledge the key role that the private sector plays in building the resilience of communities in the Pacific we can also agree they continue to remain peripheral, in the context of climate change finance. This is not necessarily unique to Melanesia, but does highlight that there is room for significant improvement. At the global level, the private sector is seen as key to unlocking private investments towards cleaner and greener economies, including building back better post COVID-19. But this needs enabling conditions which requires government support and leadership. The private sector has the innovation, the tools and the financing to support our development aspirations as individual nations and together as a region. They are also a source of employment, so contribute to the social stability of any country. They can also be an agent of change for possible cutting-edge solutions.
Our presence here is our commitment to exploring these opportunities together in ways and means that do unlock those possibilities.
Objectives of the workshop
From previous sub-regional workshops, the value of coming together regularly and in a structured manner, has been the common positive feedback from participants of these workshops. It is an opportunity to learn from each other and from the different expertise representing the different multi-lateral and regional agencies active in this area. As we share and learn from these sub-regional platforms, tangible outcomes such as opportunities for sub-regional approaches towards climate projects and investments, should become clearer and potentially more achievable.
Let this workshop pave the way for increased engagement of the private sector and a means to unlock opportunities in climate change finance for the sub-region of Melanesia.
Before I close, allow me to acknowledge with sincere gratitude, the assistance of the European Union through the Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building program or as commonly known PACRES. Also, my appreciation to the Government of Vanuatu for co-hosting this workshop and our partners who have made an effort to share their expertise and knowledge, through their participation in this workshop.
I thank everyone again for making the effort to participate and encourage active and interactive engagement. I wish you all the best and I look forward to the outcomes of this workshop.
I thank you.–ENDS
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