Accessing climate finance strengthens national Public Finance Management systems

By GEORGINA KEKEA, Barava FM/Freelance Journalist, Solomon Islands.

June 26, 2019, Sigatoka, Fiji – The process needed to access the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is said to improve the quality of internal processes and procedures in governments’ Public Financial Management (PFM) systems.

In a meeting for regional participants on ‘climate change and disaster risk finance’ it was highlighted that processes set by donor agencies to access GCF funding have really pushed countries to work on strengthening their financial systems.

Speaking to the media in a briefing, Mr. Ray Bojczuk of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Government of Australia, says there are array of funds available for Pacific countries to access, however, “we need to make sure the systems and processes are there for governments to be able to take that money and use it effectively and efficiently.”

Mr. Bojczuk said that having access to climate finance means a coordinated and accountable system in place is important. He added that by having these kinds of finance accreditation programs strengthens the ability of governments to be able to manage their money more efficiently and effectively in the long term.

Ms. Susan Sulu of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) said whilst there are challenges in getting accreditation to gain direct access to these funds, there are also bonuses for governments added, particularly for enhancing their PFM systems which governments are working hard to ensure a robust system is in place.

Ms. Sulu said governments need to have ownership and leadership in these processes which is very important for countries, adding that while the process to access climate finance might be tedious for Pacific countries, it had however enabled governments to strengthen PFM systems which is good for the country and the partner relationships they have with donor partners.

“Public Financial Management is a big criterion and the robustness of our PFM system gives credibility and trust for our partners to use our national systems,” Ms. Sulu said.

Currently most Pacific island countries are implementing reforms to address weakness in their PFM systems with financial and technical support from regional organisations and development partners.

The meeting in Sigatoka this week aims to assist Pacific country representatives to support each other by sharing experiences of accessing climate finance and strengthening their PFM systems.

The meeting is jointly organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Institutional Strengthening for Pacific Island countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) project, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Griffith University, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia.

Participants to the meeting includes government officials from The Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Ms Georgina Kekea’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 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.