Excellencies (and Heads of Delegation)
Co-Chairs of the Green Climate Fund
Representatives of Accredited Entities
Ladies and gentlemen.
Good evening and thank you for this opportunity to make a few remarks.
Last year, Forum Leaders reiterated that climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific. In line with that, climate change was endorsed as one of the top five regional priorities under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
Noting the positive outcome from COP21 in Paris last year and the necessary means of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, timely access to climate change and disaster risk finance will remain a key priority for the region.
The Forum Secretariat welcomes this initiative by the Government of Australia, as a Co-Chair of the Green Climate Fund Board, and the Green Climate Fund Secretariat, for choosing to organise this second Pacific Regional GCF Meeting in Suva at the PIFS Headquarters.
Since being directed by Leaders and Economic Ministers to coordinate climate change finance, in collaboration with CROP agencies such as SPREP and SPC, and development partners, we have undertaken a multi-faceted approach to this work.
Contrary to what has been mentioned in some casual observations, specific national climate finance assessments that have been undertaken in partnership with UNDP and other donors, in a number of Pacific Island Countries, have indicated that the region has made some progress regarding funding access.
It needs to be emphasised that access to finance is not just about fairness but to ensure that projects which are critical for the survival of many countries are undertaken. In particular, for the Smaller Island States that have been assessed (Nauru and RMI), only about 19 percent of resources accessed were from multilateral sources. Therefore, we commend the GCF Board and the GCF Secretariat for recent decisions and efforts to simplify templates for small-scale projects and readiness support. This will be critical to addressing the vulnerability of Smaller Islands States.
I am pleased that two of our countries in the region (Fiji and Tuvalu) are now accessing project funding from the Green Climate Fund. These two projects are over USD60 million and account for 16 percent of GCF project funds approved to date.
Another five countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau, and Vanuatu) are accessing readiness support grants from the GCF, which account for 15 percent of the number of readiness proposals approved. These are in partnership with SPREP and SPC, multilateral development banks, UN organisations working in the Pacific and other partners.
Recognising the importance of climate finance to Pacific Leaders, many partners have greatly increased their focus on climate finance. Supporting that decision with their specific technical expertise, regional organisations such as SPREP and SPC and accredited entities have a clear role in assisting Pacific Island Countries with project pipeline development. PIFS’ focus is to support the coordination and high level advocacy of climate finance.
Being an observer to the GCF Board Meeting, allows PIFS to support Australia and Samoa’s efforts, as Co-Chair and SIDS representative on the GCF Board, in highlighting the specific vulnerabilities, needs and opportunities for climate investment in the Pacific. It will also better enable PIFS to support enhanced outcomes for the Pacific in the GCF.
At the same time we are pleased to be working with donors such as Australia, USA, Germany and the Multilateral Development Banks, including the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, to strengthen the capacity of CROP organisations’ climate change and climate finance capabilities. This will assist to provide the best possible advice to members on how to apply for, and access climate finance from a range of sources, including the Green Climate Fund.
I hope that over the next 3 days our Senior Officials will be able to refine the concepts further to accelerate the region’s engagement and access to resources from the GCF.
Thank you very much.