23 July, 2010 - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has commenced a study with a view to establishing a regional Climate Change Fund or other mechanism. It will aim to help Pacific island countries improve access to and management of the various financial resources being committed globally to combat climate change.
The study responds to recommendations of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable held in the Marshall Islands in 2009. Delegates to the Roundtable meeting had expressed concern that, while millions of dollars in climate change funding are currently available at the global level, the Pacific region faces challenges in the ability to access this funding. There are also the added difficulties with effectively managing and implementing many of the projects under current funding arrangements.
The lack of human resources to design and develop proposals and general limitations in technical expertise are major challenges. Compounding the issue are the different expectations and reporting requirements of the different donor organisations.
“There is a need to develop a process that will help countries access funds that can be mobilised in a timely fashion to meet their priorities in mitigation and adaptation,” said SPREP’s Climate Change Adviser, Mr Espen Ronneberg.
At the same time, it is recognised that countries also require assistance in implementation and management of mitigation and adaptation initiatives and in ensuring timely reporting to donors.
“The funding mechanism will need to also address this issue and provide some form of technical backstopping for those countries requiring this additional assistance,” said Mr Ronneberg.
The study will assess resources currently available to Pacific Island Countries for Climate Change initiatives and will identify likely new funding.
“This information will help guide future national and regional responses and policies, including coordination arrangements,” explained Mr Ronneberg.
The SPREP-commissioned study is timely with climate change financing set to dramatically increase as a result of the Copenhagen Accord, which includes a collective commitment by developed countries to provide new and additional resources approaching US$30 billion for the period 2010 – 2012.
The Copenhagen Accord, which was the outcome of the 10th Conference of Parties to the 2009 UN Climate Change Convention, also commits developed countries to jointly mobilise US$100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
“The outcomes of the study will help ensure that Pacific requirements are well-articulated and that current challenges and barriers to accessing available climate funds are minimised under current international financing mechanisms,” said Mr Ronneberg.
The results of the study will be presented to the SPREP Ministerial Meeting in Madang, Papua New Guinea in September this year.