Pacific accessibility to climate finance still inadequate: Palu
By Anita Roberts of Vanuatu Daily Post
June 26, 2019, Sigatoka, Fiji - The Pacific's accessibility to climate finance is still inadequate despite availability of funds, the Climate Finance and Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisor of GIZ, Mr Aholotu Palu, said during the opening of the second Regional Climate Finance Meeting.
Mr Palu revealed that the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Finance assessment (CCDRF), guided by the Pacific Climate Finance Assessment Framework (PCCFA) conducted in 11 Pacific countries found that these countries received an estimated US$1.5 billion for climate change and disaster related activities in the past six years.
However, a 2017 Stockholm Environment Institute Report states that just US$648 million trickled down to 14 Pacific countries between 2010 and 2014.
The entire Pacific region is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts yet, access to climate financing remains a critical challenge.
The Head of the Budget and Planning Unit of the Fiji's Ministry of Economy, Mr. Isoa Talemaibua, while delivering his opening address said that the process of accessing the funds through accredited entities in the region is lengthy and resource intensive.
"Proliferation of climate financing mechanisms increase the challenge of coordinating and accessing finance," he said.
Pacific Island countries prefer their own accredited national implementing entities because the processes to secure climate funds are too technical, Mr Talemaibua added.
Pacific countries need the money to adapt to adverse impacts of climate change, “but they want direct access which means strengthening of public financial management systems, increased project management skillsets and increased capacity in reporting what impact this money is having on the ground is needed before this direct access can happen,” said Ms Vuki Buadromo from the Pacific Community (SPC).
Climate funds are channelled through bilateral, regional and multinational sources such as Global Environment Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund, Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and World Bank.
As part of the process, countries will access funds if they meet certain requirements. Pacific Island countries often face difficulty in securing funds due to lack of capacity and expertise to attract funding.
Mr Talemaibua, who represented the Fiji Government at the Meeting, highlighted the need for improved direct access to climate finance and disaster risk financing by Pacific Islands Governments.
"Finance remains a critical component in tackling climate change. It is a key means of implementation for both the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
"Scaling-up climate finance, supporting clean technology innovation and boosting access to green finance have been identified as key political priorities for the annual UN climate change summit occurring in November this year," he said.
“While countries are strengthening their PFM systems to meet the climate finance requirements, further work is needed to provide readiness resources and necessary guidance to accessing and managing climate finance processes so that they become more responsive and considerable,” said Mr. Palu.
Anita Roberts’ 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.