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Remarks by Deputy Secretaty General Cristelle Pratt to Climate Action Pacific Partnership Session 3 on Ocean and Climate Finance

SESSION 3:

Climate Action Pacific Partnership

16 October 2017

Denarau, FIJI

11:45 to 12:30

Theme: Building and supporting Resilience in the Pacific

  • Climate Champion, Hon. Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development & National Disaster Management & Meteorological Services;
  • Excellences and distinguished delegates; and
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Building Resilience, protecting our ocean, improving access to, and distributing financing for the Pacific, as well as building our capacities and partnerships to implement regional development priorities, are issues that the PIFs are very focused in support of our member countries.

 

Promoting a Big Ocean States

As the largest oceanic continent on our Blue Planet, it is not surprising that the ocean is the basis of livelihoods for Pacific peoples and is also susceptible to the effects of climate change.  Recognition of the importance of related ecosystems through Sustainable Development Goal 14 to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”; and a forthcoming special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on oceans are vitally important for the Pacific region.

The Pacific has demonstrated strong global leadership on Oceans and Climate Change through the 2030 Agenda, the SAMOA Pathway and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (FPR). Indeed, Pacific Leaders called for collective regional action in shaping the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway. With the interests of the Pacific, and by extension, island and coastal states now locked into the global public-policy agenda, our Leaders have renewed their call for the establishment of common responses to address the key challenges and opportunities related to oceans and to climate change.

In demonstrating this commitment, Leaders at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum, held in early September, last month, called for a united regional effort ‘that establishes and secures international recognition of the permanent protection and integrity of maritime zones, from the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise.’

While the link between the oceans and climate change is not explicitly recognised within the letter of the Paris Agreement, the international community has declared itself on the importance of this relationship. In June of this year, the Call for Action that emerged from the United Nations Oceans Conference recognised the co-benefits, and, challenges intrinsic to the ocean – climate nexus. This recognition has given impetus to our efforts to once again show global leadership – this time towards crystallising the oceans into the UNFCCC process.

In supporting this approach the 48th Forum recognised the key priorities identified by Fiji for the COP 23 presidency, including the ‘Oceans Pathway Partnership’ through 2020 that strengthens the ocean-climate nexus.’

 

On the Issues of Accessibility & Management of Climate Finance

A total of USD390 billion[1] was reportedly mobilised globally for climate change finance in 2015. Of that 92 percent was allocated for mitigation and 69 percent was private finance. To us in the Pacific, there is need to balance financing for adaptation and mitigation and increase private sector investment in climate change activities.

From the total climate finance mobilised globally, only USD648 million trickled down to Pacific Island Countries over 2010 to 2014 and largely from bilateral sources[2]. It is therefore encouraging to note that eight of our Pacific Island Countries have had projects approved under the Green Climate Fund accounting for 10.7 percent of the total portfolio of USD2.5 billion for approved projects globally. Countries are strengthening their public financial management system to enhance their absorptive capacity.

Although the region is gaining access to GCF resources and other climate funding sources, the access procedures and reporting requirements are still very cumbersome and resource intensive. This far outweighs the limited capacity that we have in Pacific Island Countries. The other challenge is the long delay between the approval of projects and the actual disbursement of funds. This affects planning and predictability at the country level and needs to be addressed.

Lastly, a longstanding issue for Forum Economic Ministers is the engagement of private sector to mobilise and benefit from climate finance. To date, private sector engagement in climate change is limited. Private sector stakeholders in the region are not adequately informed of the opportunities available under the GCF Private Sector Facility and the procedures for access. Nevertheless, countries are taking steps to forge public-private sector partnerships on different areas.

 

With Respect to Building Resilient Development

The Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific was endorsed by Leaders in 2016 and advocates for the integration of actions towards climate change and disaster risk management where ever possible, as there is a clear overlap between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction with similar tools and resources required to monitor, analyse and address climate and disaster risks. This can reduce duplication, streamline resources, processes and use of technical skills.  The FRDP also advocates for more effective mainstreaming of risks into development planning and budgets.

For the Ocean, the FRDP identifies that the risks of Ocean acidification, in association with increasing sea surface temperatures, is also projected to result in an increase in the frequency and severity of coral bleaching events.

The FRDP advocates for the systematic adoption of inclusive and participatory processes, which gather contributions and facilitates active participation across different stakeholder groups. The Pacific Resilience week convened earlier this month is testament to strengthening efforts for the integration of risk management considerations towards resilient development by the region.

 

Concluding Comments

We need to underscore the need for meaningful implementation of the Climate Action Pacific Partnership recommendations in conjunction with the SDG14 commitments, working with partners through, genuine and durable “partnerships for action”, as articulated in the SAMOA Pathway. These would accelerate the realisation of our regional and national commitments towards our common global vision and recognise this should be country-led and country-driven.

With these words, I would like to thank the organisers and my fellow panel members for the opportunity to speak.

 


[1]https://climatepolicyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Global-Landscape-of-Climate-Finance-2015.pdf

[2]https://www.sei-international.org/mediamanager/documents/Publications/Climate/SEI-WP-2017-04-Pacific-climate-finance-flows.pdf

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