Today 80 delegates from Government, civil society, the private sector and development partners are launching the first Vanuatu Climate Finance Forum at the Warwick Le Lagon. The forum is hosted by the Ministry of Climate Change, the Ministry of Finance, the National Advisory Board on Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction and supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change reminded participants that Vanuatu, like most Small Island Developing States (SIDS), bears little responsibility for causing climate change but our geographical, socio-economic and climate position makes our nation particularly vulnerable to the potentially negative impact. Despite this, Vanuatu remains poorly funded and approved Climate Change finance to date fulfils only a small part of the nation’s actual needs. Although several currently available funds could provide hundreds of millions of vatu towards domestic CC finance programs, Vanuatu must meet strict fiduciary standards to access these substantially greater levels of financing-flows.

Once specific example discussed was the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which now has over 10 billion USD available for support to adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.  The Forum is unique in that there are now more than five dedicated programs which are working together to support Vanuatu to improve access to international climate finance the DFAT-funded GIZ project Climate Finance Readiness in the Pacific , the USAID Institutional Strengthening for Pacific island countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) Project, the USAID Climate Ready Project, SPREP Readiness Support and the BMZ-funded GIZ Loss & Damage Project.

The Vanuatu Climate Finance Forum discussed ways to access climate finance through traditional grants and new modalities like risk insurance, as well as how to ensure full stakeholder participation, and how to prioritize investments to reach our most vulnerable people.  These funds present opportunities for gender and socially responsive climate resilient and low carbon development.

The Honorable Minister Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, Minister for Climate Change emphasised to the delegates that Vanuatu must be in the driving seat of making the decisions on the Climate Change funding – and including civil society and the private sector in the decision-making process.

“The Vanuatu Climate Finance forum brings you as decision-makers, technical experts, private sector, development partners and non-government stakeholders together to deliberate on the complex global climate finance architecture, share lessons learned from climate finance in Vanuatu as well as chart a tangible way forward,” explained Hon Minister Lini.  “With this Forum, Vanuatu is proactively preparing itself to own climate action – not merely sitting back as a passive recipient of development assistance.  I want this country to be the driver of change and the leader of the innovations required to address this crisis.”

By the end of the two-day Forum, Vanuatu’s climate finance aspirations are clearer with a Road Map defining actions to be taken by all stakeholders to ensure the fullest possible benefit to our nation.  Glen Craig from the private sector and Elizabeth Faerua from civil society shared their own experiences and recommendations for the way forward in climate finance for Vanuatu.  It was clear that everyone is interested and that together Vanuatu can see transformative change in its efforts to build resilience.  Development Partners including Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Germany and others were on hand to share their upcoming programs and potentially fill Vanuatu’s climate finance needs and gaps.

The powerful closing words of Minister Ham Lini’s opening speech at the Vanuatu Climate Change Funding Forum highlighted the urgent need to get the decisions right to maximize the beneficial potential of the Climate Change funding flows and mitigate the very real risks and damage of Climate Change.

“This must be our common purpose here over the two days: A Vanuatu that is worthy of our children and grandchildren.  A nation that is united in climate action and defined by cooperation.  A Vanuatu that is more prosperous, and more secure, and more resilient than the one that we inherited. The next generation is watching what we do.”

For more information contact the National Advisory Board on Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction on +678 24686 or visit www.nab.vu.