Pacific priorities should determine access to climate finance

15 Apr 2011

(Koror, Palau) - Would climate change still be a priority if there were no funds available? The availability of climate funds should not dictate the development agenda of Pacific Island countries. Instead, their national priorities should identify the development path they want to take.

This was a strong message that came out of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized Pacific National Stakeholders Meeting on Climate Financing that ended in Palau today.

The two day meeting attended by senior government officials from 10 Pacific island countries and regional agencies and civil society organizations heard that there were a number of funds  globally that could be accessed for climate adaptation work and that these had strict reporting requirements. UNDP Bangkok’s Martin Krause explained that the climate funds could be accessed in a number of ways, through national implementing entities or multi lateral implementing entities, or a combination of both.

He said that so far there were only three accredited national implementing entities for the Adaptation Fund, that were from Jamaica, Uruguay and Senegal. Presenting on lessons learnt from other parts of the world in accessing the climate funds and the setting up of national climate funds, UNDP Bangkok’s Alex Heikens said effectiveness, transparency and accountability were important for the climate fiscal framework.

“The countries have to have the capacity to deliver what they have promised to deliver and be accountable,” he said. There was consensus from the meeting that new entities not be created to deal with climate financing, instead existing structures be used. UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Toily Kurbanov highlighted the realities of the aid environment in which Pacific countries operate. 

“Climate finance is an opportunity to address the overall issue of development effectiveness in the Pacific,” he said. He said that countries could consider their implementation capacity, inter-ministerial co-ordination, programme design capacity, national champions and political commitment in identifying the best means of accessing funds for development, ranging from whether they be project based or direct budgetary support.

Fei Tevi from the Pacific Council of Churches said that Pacific Island needed to first prioritise climate change as a development issue. He said national ownership was very important in addressing climate change challenges.

The meeting concluded with the launch of the Pacific Climate Change community, which is a facilitated, email based service that would enable the members attending the meeting to continue the conversation on climate change and climate financing that they had been having over the last two days.

Contact Information

Sharon Sakuma, Palau Country Development Manager, tel: +680 775 7270
Shobhna Decloitre, Communications Associate, email: Shobhna.decloitre@undp.org; tel: +680 779 1054