Fiji has called for collective efforts among Pacific Island countries to improve access to climate finance frameworks and to boost the capacity of Pacific nations to understand, secure and manage climate adaptation funding.

fiji-climateFiji’s push was led by Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) Regional Workshop held today in Suva. The GCF exists within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and serves as a mechanism to assist developing countries with climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The GCF Regional Workshop brought together representatives from 14 Pacific Island States, development partners, civil society and the private sector to share experiences on securing GCF resources and utilising GCF funding to counter the effects of climate change.

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During his opening remarks, the Acting PM described climate change adaptation as an issue of survival for Pacific nations.

“In the Pacific, our development hinges upon our ability to adapt to climate change. As it stands, Pacific nations risk the possibility of one climactic event completely devastating our vulnerable economies. Our climate adaptation efforts and our development need to become one and the same if we are to reduce that risk and sustain our economic growth and progress. That is why climate adaptation needs to be mainstreamed into the national development planning of every Pacific nation,” he said.

The Acting PM emphasised – as he has at numerous international and regional forums – the need to tailor climate finance frameworks to the unique challenges faced by vulnerable small island states.

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“Our campaign to increase awareness and cooperation on climate finance access in the Pacific is rapidly gaining momentum. We in the Pacific are the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change, and that needs to be a chief consideration of the international community in determining access to climate finance frameworks. Collectively, Pacific nations can secure bankable projects on a regional level and overcome the issue of economies of scale in accessing climate finance,” he said.

The Acting PM went on to share Fiji’s experience in securing a $70 million grant from the GCF towards the Asia Development Bank supported project to climate proof Fiji’s water supply and wastewater system. The Acting PM called for greater synergy between international development organisations in determining a country’s eligibility to receive climate finance assistance – namely the facilitation of assistance after a country has already received approval from another reputable organisation.