Suva, Fiji – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) have released a discussion paper which highlights some of the issues on climate finance effectiveness in the Pacific region. The paper explores approaches that have been used to access and deliver climate finance in the Pacific region over the past decade, the main issues affecting the effective use of these finances, and the priority areas requiring reform.

Titled ‘Climate Finance Effectiveness in the Pacific: Are we on the right track?,’ the overarching aim of the paper is to identify common reform priorities and prompt further dialogue on ways to improve the effectiveness of climate finance.

The discussion paper emphasizes that despite significant climate finance being raised, climate change is still having profound effects on the achievement of development priorities in the Pacific. It is not clear if simply filling in the finance gap will suffice. Furthermore, climate finance appears to be disconnected from the priorities of the people most impacted by climate change. Quoted in the paper, Ms. Raijeli Nicola, Regional Director for Oxfam in the Pacific says there is a disconnect from the policy framework and whether it gets to the right place. 

The paper argues that the requirements for access and accreditation of climate financing in the region has been a distraction to achieving better quality results. In the paper, Honourable Mr. Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu Minister for Finance and Chair of the Pacific Forum Economic Ministerial Meeting highlights, “we faced key challenges accessing the Green Climate Fund financing facility – it was a lengthy process, negotiation took two years, and there has been already a number of years of cumbersome, extensive and multilayered processes”.

The discussion paper calls for a shift in approach, towards an optimal climate financing trajectory – a balance between accessing higher levels of financing and focusing on higher levels of impact. This can be achieved through a development focused approach, as emphasized by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General, Mr. Henry Puna. “Climate change should be thought of as a development issue. All policies, public finance management, and sector strategies need to be looked at through this lens”, said Secretary-General Mr. Puna.

The paper informed the recent regional Talanoa event of the same name, held on the 9 September 2021 and attended by participants from the Pacific and beyond representing key stakeholders. Speaking at the regional event, Secretary-General, Mr. Puna agreed that more needs to be done on the issue of climate finance effectiveness. He said “financing mechanisms can be better adapted to the Pacific context by allowing more scope for risk-taking, innovation and a diverse range of financial instruments”.

Mr. Jean-Paul Penrose, Pacific Development Director, British High Commission Suva stressed “We need to use climate finance more smartly. Used correctly it can be a key to replicate and scale up investment in climate adaptation and resilience. National ownership is key to ensure that both climate and development finance meets national priorities and particularly benefits the most vulnerable communities. It must be demand rather than supply driven”.

Mr. Moortaza Jiwanji, Project Manager, Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (Gov4Res) Project, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, noted an emerging call for action for more effective climate financing, requiring a stronger focus on development and the underlying drivers of vulnerability, systems change at all levels of development, and more agile approaches to climate financing to achieve more climate-resilient development. He further added that “this doesn’t happen unless you ruffle some feathers”.

The paper was developed through a rapid review of recent literature, key informant interviews with country and partner representatives as well as a sense-making workshop facilitated by UNDP. Taking the discussion forward, the paper calls for action for more effective climate financing, including conditions for better access and accreditation; in-country systems reform; support from the international community that can be better adapted to the Pacific context; and agile learning platforms and collective action across the region that can help to take approaches to scale.

As the region looks towards the UN Climate Change Conference – COP26 – which takes place in Glasgow, UK later this year, the paper will provide an important opportunity for informing and influencing decisions on climate finance at COP26.

Link to the paper: https://bit.ly/3lvTzpz

For more information, or media interviews please contact:

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Public Affairs Adviser, Pacific Islands Forum, Email: lisaw@forumsec.org

Summer Lee, Partnerships, Donor Liaison and Communications Specialist, Gov4Res Project, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Email: summer.lee@undp.org

Kashimita Rao, Communications Officer, British High Commission, Suva, Email: kashmita.rao@fcdo.gov.uk

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