Pacific countries take the driving seat on climate finance with nationally-owned funds

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Representatives from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu met in Nadi, Fiji to discuss both the opportunities and the challenges faced in setting up NCFs
Sea level rises, warming ocean temperatures and extreme weather events such as cyclones are well documented effects of climate change, and nowhere are they felt more strongly than in island nations. For years, these governments’ appetite for nationally-owned climate funds has increased to address this colossal threat, as they allow countries to collect finance from a variety of sources, coordinate them, blend them together and account for them to deliver adaptation and mitigation results on the ground. A number of Pacific nations met in late March to share experiences on how to establish and manage these funds in order to prevent further climate-induced disasters and strengthen countries’ ability to recover when they do hit.  
Representatives from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu, well as the Green Climate Fund Secretariat, and development partners from the Pacific region met in Nadi, Fiji to discuss both the opportunities and the challenges faced in setting up National Climate Funds (NCF) in their respective countries. 
Tuvalu, Tonga and Papua New Guinea have already established a NCF, while Fiji has just completed a feasibility study, the necessary precursor for setting up a fund. While learning from the experiences of the other three countries will be of great value to Fiji as it establishes its own NCF, those that already had an operational NCF still valued the chance to share experiences with nations facing similar challenges during the South-South cooperation event. 
“Having the opportunity to hold a regional meeting with the likes of Tuvalu, Tonga, and PNG is such a success, as Fiji will greatly learn from the experiences of its neighbours that will contribute to an informed decision about a Fiji NCF,” said Nanise Boginivalu, Fiji’s National Coordinator for the UN Environment/UNDP/WRI GCF Readiness Programme. “The participation from government, development partners, CROP agencies and NGOs at the validation workshop was overwhelming, clearly depicting the positive partnerships Fiji has with its stakeholders.” 
Recognising the catalytic potential of taking a joint approach to tackling climate change, countries with established NCFs pledged to collectively raise awareness and raise the profile of these financing mechanisms with their Pacific counterparts and with those globally at various events.
The Government of Tuvalu’s Director for Climate Change and Disaster Coordinator under the Prime Minister’s Office, Pepetua Latasi, urged development partners to prioritise support to countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as island nations.
“Finance should be made easily accessible to most vulnerable countries, and support should be provided to these countries to access [this] finance,” said Latasi. 
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Forests and Fisheries, Samuela Lagataki, noted that success in reducing and safeguarding against the effects of climate change required a concerted effort from a range of actors. 
“Tackling the impacts of climate change requires strong, genuine and an integrated partnership of all stakeholders from the community level, private sector, non-government organisations, civil society organisations as well as regional and international development partners,” Lagataki said.
“Taking lessons learnt from this platform, we will look at opportunities for the private sector to be a part of the NCF process,” added the Government of Tonga’s Principal Climate Finance Analyst and Head of the Climate Finance Division, Sione Fulivai.
The south-south learning platform was organised by the UN Environment/ UNDP/ WRI Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme in Fiji, in partnership with the Climate Policy Lab of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and the Ministry of Economy, with support from the German Government’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).