Learning from the experience of neighbouring countries was on the agenda at Samoa’s National Climate Finance Forum in Apia. Given the increasing climate change financing to the Pacific, there is a need to share experiences and lessons given the varying degrees of readiness that exist in Pacific Island Countries.
A special session on the world’s largest dedicated climate fund, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) heard the perspectives from the Cook Islands on accessing the Readiness Fund.
Established in 2010 at the United Nations Framework Convention to Climate Change Conference of the Parties, the fund now has 194 signatories with USD 10.3 billion dollars in pledges.
Of this there are 43 projects now underway which total over USD 2.2 billion dollars. In the Pacific island region there are GCF projects approved in Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and a Pacific Renewable Energy Project with a focus on the Cook Islands.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme is the only Pacific Regional implementing entity of the GCF.
“There is a lot of opportunity there for the Pacific to ramp it up,” said Mr Simon Wilson, the Climate Finance Adviser of SPREP.
“There are a lot of climate funds available for us to access and the GCF have different avenues to help ensure the projects are country driven and owned, as well as have the technical capacity and resources to prepare and implement.”
Readiness Support is one of the areas of funding available by the Green Climate Fund which will support countries in strengthening the National Designated Authority (NDA), direct access for entities and development of strategic frameworks which include country programmes, concept notes and pre-feasibility studies.
This readiness allocation is capped at USD1million per country annually. There is a separate allocation of USD 3million per country for National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) or other adaptation planning processes.
The Cook Islands was the first Pacific island country to access GCF Readiness Funding in 2016, a total grant of USD 150,000 for strengthening of the National Designated Authority, based in the Climate Change Unit of the Cook Islands.
“The Readiness Programme allowed us to apply for the capital needed to build our capacity and undertake the required assessments needed for project proposal development. In implementing the 12 month programme of this readiness grant, we’ve learnt that it helps to strike a balance between raising awareness about the relationship between the Fund and the National Designated Authority but not high expectations from the public,” presented Mr Ewan Cameron, the National Designated Authority Adviser of Climate Change Cook Islands
“Just because we have funds available under the Green Climate Fund, it does not mean that you can get money just like that, tomorrow. We had to ensure that the processes required are set in place to enable the National Designated Authority to carry out its role as information was shared, there was reality in the expectations from people.”
The presentation saw a number of lessons learnt by the Cook Islands, followed by a healthy discussion as further experiences were shared that may be able to assist Samoa as they move forward in their Green Climate Fund activities.
The one day Samoa national Climate Finance Forum was an initiative of a partnership between the Government of Samoa and three regional projects, those being USAID Climate Ready, the USAID – Pacific Community (SPC) Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia (DFAT) – GIZ Climate Change Finance Readiness for the pacific (CFRP).
The Forum also featured two panels, one of regional partners to discuss “Climate Resilience support to Samoa”, and a panel hearing from the civil society, NGO’s and the private sector organisation discussing “Climate change is locally experienced, how can it be effectively addressed by engaging local groups and institutions.”
The Samoa National Climate Finance Forum was held on 9 May at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, a partnership initiative between the Government of Samoa, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT).
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