From: Taimi Media Network
Representatives of ten Pacific governments are in Palau to discuss strategies for greater access to international funds committed to Climate Change adaptation today in Palau.
Rich countries promised to mobilising a $10 billion a year ‘Fast Start’ program between 2010 and 2012 to help buffer the poorest countries from the effects of global warming, in the Climate Summit of 2009 in Copenhagen.
The funds have not really reached communities that need them, especially in the Pacific.
The Director of the South Pacific’s Regional Environment Program (SPREP) David Sheppard says things are moving as expected.
“The delivery of these funds have been slower than anticipated,” he said to Tonga Chronicle.
He said the overarching priority is to ensure adequate finance are available to implement practical and relevant actions according to national priorities.
A whopping $100 billion was set as a “goal” for developed countries to provide per year by 2020 to support developing countries climate change efforts, while the developing nations including most of the Pacific islands, were committed to provide $30 billion for adaptation and mitigation.
Tonga is represented in Palau by Director of Climate Change Department ‘Asipeli Palaki and an official from the Finance Ministry, amongst representatives from Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu as well as representatives of regional agencies and civil society organizations.
Tonga’s initiatives in climate change adaptation include water supply systems for the western side of Tongatapu, which experiences significant saltwater infiltration and projected to worsen as sea levels rise.
According to the National Coordinator for Tonga’s “Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change” Project, Paula Taufa says because of close proximity to the ocean.
“There is severe saltwater infiltration of the groundwater supply,” some water pumps have been abandoned, he told the Tonga Chronicle.
While the Pacific has the least contribution to global warming and sea level rise (about 0.03% of global greenhouse gas emissions), it will be the first and worst hit by the effects of climate change and sea level rise, which is reason behind greater focus on adaptation rather than mitigation.
“While globally there are promises of substantial resources to respond to the impact of climate change, Pacific island countries would benefit from up-to-date knowledge and tools on how to access and use these funds,” stated Toily Kurbanov Deputy Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme.
The two-day workshop, organized by the UNDP, complements other regional efforts to access and effectively deliver climate change adaptation initiatives.
“Pacific leaders have consistently identified Climate Change as the greatest challenge facing Pacific Island Countries, underlining the vulnerability of Pacific Islands and the need for urgent action,” stated Sheppard in a presentation to a Commonwealth High Level Meeting on Climate Finance in Canberra earlier this year.
- By Tevita Motulalo