Media plays key role in region’s finance reforms

By ILIESA TORA of Nuku’alofa Times.

26 June 2019, Sigatoka, Fiji (Enviro News): Climate Change and climate financing discussions and planning must include the media, a regional climate finance and public management adviser told the media here in Sigatoka, Fiji this morning.

Mr Aholotu Palu who is part of the Climate Change Finance Readiness Project being implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and supported by GIZ, told the media at the Regional Climate and Disaster Risk Finance Forum at the Shangri-la’s Fijian Resort that he would like to see the recognition of the media as an element in pushing changes and reforms at  country levels.

“We have been talking about Finance Management and the key ministry for that is the Ministry of Finance but if the media plays the role, the role in terms of indicating to them that this is what l learned while attending this workshop, and where are we with this – the procurement processes, planning, budgeting, oversights and everything.

“If they are not moving then obviously the whole effectiveness of the economic management and the efficiency will not be there," said Mr Palu. “So, you play a key role in reform in countries in the region so I would want to see you, the media, when you go back to your respective countries play a key role in the reform processes.”

Mr Palu said it is important that the media be given the opportunity to be part of reform processes, especially in the climate change and disaster risk financing planning.

“It is very important for the media to be part of such workshops and planning such as these two days here,” he said. “And making the media part of the discussions so they also understand and know what is happening. When they know more, they are then able to go back and keep their respective countries accountable.”

Mr Palu’s comments in answer to a question posed to the panellists about what they would like to see achieved at the two-day meeting.

Ms Eileen Turare, the Project Manager for Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment Finance Initiative (PCRAFI), said discussions being held need to be “a whole of government approach” with all stakeholders involved.

Ms Turare said returning home to respective countries with action plans would mean the meeting was successful.

 

Media briefing at the regional meeting

“It would be good that when they do go back to their respective countries that the dialogue continues,” she said. “This is a whole of government activity and it needs a whole of government approach, that all stakeholders involved need to be active in the dialogue and to take the dialogue and continue it back home. That it does not stop here, that it goes back and there is actual action that takes place so it results in something that each country can use.”

Ms Vuki Buadromo, Project Manager for the USAID Institutional Strengthening for Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) Project, said she would like to see some frank discussions where real issues are addressed.

“What we would like to see is some frank conversations about the experiences that each country as well as the different entities, in terms of the challenges they face, so we can fairly address the issues. That will need us to have trust and this forum is obviously an opportunity for us to not only network but also strengthen the relationships across the different agencies and governments, NGOs, private sector and all our other partners,” she said.

The First Secretary Regional Climate Change and Resilience at the Australian High Commission in Suva, Mr Ray Bojczuk, said his government would like to see innovative solutions to address issues that exist. “Having representatives from a number of different countries in the Pacific I think we will find that there is a lot of problems are quite similar so I think the opportunity for different countries to sit together and discuss them you can actually find that some solutions that work for one country can be actually used in another."

“So I think it is going to be a great chance to identify some of issues and find solutions to address them,” he said.

Mr Isoa Talemaibua, Head of Budget and Planning from Fiji’s Ministry of Economy, said the meeting will be a great opportunity for the Fijian government to see where the gaps are in the Public Finance Management System and what they can improve on to ensure Fiji is able to continue to access climate financing.

A regional media team is part of the Regional Climate and Disaster Risk Finance meeting.

Mr Iliesa Tora’s attendance at the Regional Climate and Disaster Risk Finance meetings was facilitated by Pacific iCLIM: Supporting the Regional Management of Climate Change Information in the Pacific and the Institutional Strengthening for Pacific island countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISAAC) projects. The Regional Climate and Disaster Risk Finance meetings and media training are being held from 25 – 27 June 2019 in Sigatoka, Fiji is supported by the SPC, PIFS, SPREP, GIZ, USAID and Australian Department for Foreign Affairs & Trade.