In Port Vila today, 80 delegates from government, civil society, the private sector and development partners launched the first Vanuatu Climate Finance Forum at the Warwick Le Lagon.
The forum is being 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).
The Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change, Jotham Napat, reminded participants that Vanuatu, like most Small Island Developing States (SIDS), bears little responsibility for causing climate change, but its geographical, socio-economic and climate position makes the 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,” he said.
“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.”
One example discussed was the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which now has more than USD 10 billion available for support to adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.
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 avenues like risk insurance, as well as how to ensure full stakeholder participation, and how to prioritize investments to reach the most vulnerable people. These funds present opportunities for gender and socially responsive climate resilient and low carbon development.
The Minister for Climate Change, Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, emphasised to the delegates that Vanuatu must be in the driving seat of making the decisions on the Climate Change funding – and must include 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,” said Mr 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.”
Mr Lini highlighted the urgent need to get the decisions right to maximize the beneficial potential of 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.”
By Pasifik Staff, reposted from Pasifik News, November 30, 2016