Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

Leaders emphasised the importance of immediate, significant and coordinated practical action to address climate change and disaster risk management. Leaders agreed such action would be guided by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP)” – Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ 2016 Pohnpei Statement: Strengthening Pacific Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have agreed that climate change and resilience is a standing regional priority for the Blue Pacific continent. This is in recognition of the fact that climate change is the single greatest threat facing the Pacific and being at the forefront of the highest disaster risk exposure globally, according to the World Risk Index report 2019.

The region’s pre-existing vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change and disasters have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic creating additional negative impacts. COVID-19 threatens the integrity and prosperity of our Blue Pacific peoples, our communities and our economies. There is clear interconnectivity between COVID-19 and climate change and resilience, as demonstrated in 2020 where already struggling small public systems in some Forum Island Countries (FICs) that had closed their borders under COVID-19 have had to respond to the impacts of Cyclone Harold and the dilemma of opening borders for external assistance.

Despite the challenges, Forum Members are, and will continue to show leadership on ambitious climate change action and building a resilient, sustainable future for the future generations of the Blue Pacific continent.

In 2019, Forum Leaders issued the Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now (2019) which outlines ten key calls to the international community for ambitious climate change action. In 2018, Leaders elevated climate change as a regional security issue through the Boe Declaration. In 2016, Forum Leaders endorsed the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), a global-first regional strategy which advocates an integrated approach to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management and low carbon development. This is complemented through the Pacific Resilience Partnership supported by Leaders in 2017, which advances an inclusive and multi-sectoral approach to addressing resilient development in the Pacific.

Climate Change & Resilience Work in the Pacific

All CROP agencies play a role in addressing climate change and resilience. PIFS has been working closely with technical CROP agencies such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), The Pacific Community (SPC), the University of the South Pacific (USP), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); and development partners to support FICs with their national climate change and resilience building actions in line with the goals of the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific 2017-2030.

Role of the Forum Secretariat

The Forum Secretariat’s role is specific to coordination, facilitating high level political advocacy and providing policy advice to FICs on the key means of implementation for resilient development. This collective effort has been focused on identifying and coordinating regional and international funding to support national responses to climate change and resilience building.

At present the Forum Secretariat, through the Resilience Team, is pursuing these Outcomes:

  1. Strengthened national capacity (including human capacity, institutional coordination, public finance management systems, climate finance and budget tagging). Advocacy for direct access and flexible modalities to support the effective use and reporting of climate change and disaster risk finance;
  2. Direct access to international climate change finance and a tailored Public Financial Management (PFM) approach commensurate with the unique capacity constraints faced by Forum Island Countries (FICs);
  3. Strengthened private sector engagement in climate change and disaster risk finance;
  4. Strengthened capacity of Ministries of Finance to strategically plan for robust financial protection measures against disasters;
  5. Strengthened governance of risk informed national development planning and implementation;
  6. The efficiency and effectiveness of the PRP is acknowledged and greater alignment of the FRDP to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and other related international frameworks; and
  7. Forum Island Countries have a strong political voice in the UNFCCC negotiations and other international meetings on climate change and climate finance.
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