In their opening remarks, the Co-Chairs (including the UN Resident Coordinator in Fiji Sanaka Samarasinha and the UN Resident Coordinator in Micronesia Jaap Van Hierden, the UNDP Resident Representative Levan Bouadze, the PBF Chief of Mission Brian Williams and the IOM Chief of Mission in Micronesia Salvatore Sortino) highlighted the importance of the project at the regional and global levels, underlined its catalytic nature and reaffirmed the commitment and ambition to set the example for similar initiatives in the region.
The Government representatives from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu expressed their appreciation to the UN Secretary General and the Peace Building Fund, underlining the vital role of the project in addressing critical climate-related security issues at the national level.
The meeting was an occasion to exchange experiences and engage in fruitful, constructive, and inclusive dialogue. The Project Board members had the opportunity to assess the project results at the country level, learning from the country coordinators what has been done in terms of inclusive consultations, as well as the strategic justification for the selection of pilot initiatives, their relevance to climate security, and their expected peacebuilding impact.
After over one year of implementation, the Climate Security in the Pacific Project is designing pilot initiatives at the country level, based on an extensive and inclusive consultation process conducted throughout the year. In Kiribati, the pilot initiatives (nursery, fish center, space for warehouse) will help resolve conflicts over natural resources that are foreseen due to the impact of climate change. In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, it emerged from the consultations that sea-level rise and eroding coastlines are the main concerns of local communities. Finally, in Tuvalu, the project identified the climate security-related challenges and approved the pilot initiatives, which include food cube gardening and water facility improvement, that will help local communities to overcome conflicts over natural resources and maintain peace and stability on the island of Nui.
At the regional level, the initiative is also supporting regional dialogues on climate security and developing risk assessments in coordination with IOM and regional actors that will provide data and evidence for decision-makers and support a Pacific climate security advocacy strategy. The regional support to the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Coalition of Low Lying Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CANCC), in coordination with the UN Climate Security Mechanism, aims at establishing a permanent knowledge exchange network and providing strategic high-level policy advise.
At the end of the Board Meeting, the members jointly decided on the way forward for 2022, including the request for a no-cost extension until the end of 2022, the proposed pilot initiatives and profiles in the three countries and the planned work at the regional level.