JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT
The European Union (EU) with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) have signed a financing agreement for Adapting to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (ACSE) programme worth FJ$90.8m.
The ACSE programme will help the 15 Pacific ACP countries (Cook Islands, East-Timor, Fiji, Kiribati, , Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) to address three main challenges common to all of them: adapting to climate change; reducing their reliance on fossil fuels; and capacity building.
The total project cost is €37.26 (FJ$95.37) million with the European Union contributing €35.5 (FJ$90.86) million through the European Development Fund (EDF). For the implementation of this programme, the European Union will be working in partnership with the German International Cooperation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit – GIZ), the New Zealand Government, the Asian Development Bank and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
“I’m thrilled to be here signing this financing agreement. Climate change adaptation and sustainable energy are in the core of EU’s support towards the Pacific countries. This project not only illustrates this but it’s yet another example of the ever closer cooperation between the European Union and our partners in the Pacific,” says Mr Dirk Meganck, European Commission’s Director for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Gulf and the Pacific whilst signing on behalf of the European Union during the regional programming meeting for the 11th EDF, held at PIFS in Suva, Fiji this week.
“The Forum Secretariat and its partner regional agencies warmly welcome the EU’s commitment to climate change and sustainable energy,” says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, The Secretary-General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat. “In almost every Forum communiqué in recent years, Leaders have emphasised the importance of securing access to energy, their commitment to renewable energy, the promotion of efficiency measures and the need for significant progress in diversification by developing domestic renewable energy to reduce their reliance on imported fuels. Similarly, Forum Leaders have given affirmation of the dangers of climate change – to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.”
The programme aims to strengthen the Pacific island countries’ capacity to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and to enhance their energy security at national, provincial and local/community level. The programme seeks to deliver the following key achievements:
? Create and/or strengthen national technical expertise on climate change adaptation and sustainable energy;
? Improved cost-effective and efficient energy systems to reduce fossil fuels dependency; and
? Improvements in communities’ adaptive capacity to cope with climate change challenges.
Another aim of the ACSE programme is to enhance sustainable livelihoods through the support of government institutional efforts and empowering communities to increase their self-reliance and their ability to cope with the effects of climate change through appropriate practices in agriculture and coastal fishery, by disseminating improved plant varieties which are resistant to salt water, by securing their daily water supply and by improving their access to energy, among other initiatives.
For further information please contact:
Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific Suva, Fiji, Tel: (+679) 3313-633 Email: Delegationemail@example.com
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat: Diane Abad, Communications Adviser (+679) 868 5166 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate change is already disproportionally affecting the Pacific island states, although islanders have done little to contribute to the cause – producing less than 0.03% of current global greenhouse gas emissions. They are among the first to be exposed, often disproportionally, and with limited means to adequately respond.
At the same time, despite efforts to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, many small Pacific states remain almost 100% dependent on these imports for power generation and transportation. Sustainable energy and climate change adaptation are therefore top priorities for the Pacific ACP governments as expressed in regionally endorsed frameworks and in national policies and strategic documents.