11:30am (Fiji Standard Time), Friday
11 October 2019
Rarotonga, Cook Islands – The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in collaboration with the Government of Cook Islands through the Climate Change Office and the Chamber of Commerce supported two workshops for the private sector, with one focusing solely on the Cook Islands and the other bringing together participants from the Polynesia sub-region. The Cook Islands Private Sector Climate Change Issues Mapping Workshop was held from 01 – 02 October 2019.
The Polynesia Sub-regional Workshop on 03 – 04 October 2019 brought together close to forty participants from across the Polynesian countries representing the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) National Designated Authority (NDA), the private sector and international partners. The workshop was officially opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Mark Brown.
The overall objective of both workshops was to advance the dialogue between the public and private sector on resilience building through improved access to climate finance and strengthening public private partnership.
This was strong indication of the Cook Islands government’s ongoing commitment to engage proactively with the private sector in its resilient development efforts.
In his opening remarks, Hon. Mark Brown emphasised that resilience building is crucial to prepare for a 1.5 degrees world highlighting the important role of the private sector to engage with governments, not only as suppliers of goods and services, but also as key investors.
He added that whilst private sector engagement in mitigation is relatively clear, there is room for improvement in relation to adaptation investments. Hon. Mark Brown further spoke on the opportunity for the private sector to work closely with government and other stakeholders, for example, communities on resilience building projects.
PIFS Deputy Secretary General, Cristelle Pratt said that though there is recognition of the key role the private sector can play, they continue to remain in the periphery and encouraged all participants to make the most of the opportunity to network, share and learn from each other.
The workshop heard examples from the private sector in Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu about their efforts towards resilience building whilst the GCF NDA representatives updated the forum on their readiness support and project pipelines including national policies to support private sector investment in climate change actions. There was appreciation of the workshop with the participants seeing the value of regular dialogue to better understand their respective roles and contributions.
Representing the UNFCCC climate finance, Dr. Grant Kirkman provided an overview of the global finance architecture and shared information about their work in progressing the ‘Needs-based Project’ one of the key outcomes of COP23. Representatives from ADB and SPREP spoke on their experiences being an ‘Accredited Entity’ to the GCF, their individual agency contribution to private sector development in the region and project proposal development targeting multi-lateral funding sources.
PIFS support to this undertaking reflects the decision by Leaders embracing a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder approach, inclusive of the private sector, towards resilience building through the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) and Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP). Equally important it puts into action a longstanding priority of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) and the Private Sector Dialogue discussions to strengthen private sector engagement in climate change and disaster risk finance. The Polynesia sub-regional workshop builds on the Melanesia sub-regional workshop held in 2018 with plans to host one in Micronesia in early 2020.
At the national level the private sector mapping exercises are aimed at providing more detailed information on current and potential contribution of the private sector to mitigation and adaptation activities with such mapping already completed in Samoa and Vanuatu with Solomon Islands and Tonga next to be done.
These initiatives have been made possible through funding support from PIFS, DFAT funding supporting the FRDP and PRP and the Intra-ACP Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) program. Partners from SPREP, UNFCCC, ADB, AF and Frontiers Fund shared their expertise and how their organizations were supporting the region and the private sector.
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