The climate change adaptation needs and priorities of Pacific Island countries are the subjects of discussion at the USAID/ADAPT Asia-Pacific Second Annual Meeting, which began today in Nadi, Fiji.
More than 100 participants, including government officials from 14 Pacific Island and six Asian countries, representatives of multilateral and bilateral donor institutions and other development partners have convened for a two-day meeting on how to better access financing for vital climate change adaptation projects in the region. The meeting is being organized by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation Facility for Asia and the Pacific (ADAPT Asia-Pacific).
Climate change is increasing the burdens of the poorest people in the world, who are often hardest hit by weather catastrophes, desertification, and rising sea levels. In some parts of the world, climate change has already contributed to worsening food security, reduced the predictable availability of fresh water, and exacerbated the spread of disease and other threats to human health. A recent study by the World Bank estimated that developing countries will face climate-change adaptation costs ranging from US$ 70 billion to US$ 100 billion annually by the year 2050. Various climate change funds associated with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have been established, and countries have been set to mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020 for both climate change adaptation and mitigation. This meeting will assist the 14 Pacific Island governments to better understand the technical requirements to access these vital funds. The governments will also discuss their top priority adaptation projects with major donors.
Mr. Jeffrey Robertson, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, opened the meeting by highlighting USAID’s Global Climate Change and Development Strategy. Mr. Robertson said, “President Obama recognizes climate change as one of the greatest economic, social and environmental challenges of our time. Our new Secretary of State, John Kerry is passionate about the issue. By helping Pacific nations access climate change financing through USAID’s ADAPT Asia-Pacific project, the United States seeks to strengthen our support for climate adaptation strategies amongst our partners in Pacific community.”
H.E. Mr. Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Samoa’s Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary/Head of Mission to the UN and Alternate Green Climate Fund Board Member representing Small Islands Developing States reaffirmed the importance of ongoing support from the ADAPT Asia-Pacific project to the Pacific community. Ambassador Elisaia said, “This gives Pacific governments the chance to directly engage with those shaping the global climate change adaptation financing landscape. Importantly, it helps donors to better understand the particular needs of Pacific Island countries with respect to climate change financing.”
Pacific Island government representatives from various line ministries including Finance, Economic Development, Planning and Environment are participating in the meeting. Officials from selected Asian countries are also attending the Annual Meeting to share their experience with their counterparts from the Pacific Islands countries.
The meeting forms part of the first-ever ‘Pacific Climate Change Resourcing Event Week’, which includes a climate change financing workshop co-hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program on behalf of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable Resource Working Group.
Following the Second Annual Meeting, ADAPT Asia-Pacific and its regional partners will work with individual Pacific Island countries on climate change adaptation priorities identified during the Annual Meeting.