Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown addresses COP 27. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister/22111134
Prime Minister Mark Brown says funding for smaller nations affected by climate change must be accelerated.
Brown, who has
recently returned from the 27th United Nations Conference on Climate
Change (COP 27) in Egypt, said this conference was the first time that a Loss and Damage Finance Facility had been
“It remains to be seen
whether the big players and developed countries will get on board,” PM Brown
“It’s been talked about
for years. There was great difficulty in acknowledging loss and damage from the
impacts of climate change for countries like ours.
“It’s only this year that
we’ve seen a positive step. Previously, there was a lot of discussion and
arguments about who should fund it and whether we should have it at all.”
PM Brown said it will
take years before it gets implemented.
“New Zealand has
put forward $20 million towards Loss and Damage finance mechanism, Germany has
proposed a contribution as well,” he said.
“But what form it
takes, and how countries will be able to access it and how it gets distributed
remains to be seen.”
There were more
than 168 countries represented at the event, and one of the goals is to agree
to measures that keep the global average temperature rise this century as close
as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is very pessimistic about that
target,” PM Brown said. “Unless countries hit their targets, it looks like
we’re not going to make that 1.5 degrees.”
PM Brown said Cook
Islands’ contribution was “like a matchstick in a forest fire”.
“What we can do is
advocate, to make sure the larger carbon emitting countries are made aware of
their responsibilities, and that they need to step up,” he said.
“I’ve been talking
about this for more than 10 years. We’ve been pushing proposals and initiatives
for countries like ours, and one of the things that we’ve been pushing for is
the access for climate funding to be accelerated and simplified.”
“It’s a complicated process for countries like ours to
access it. You have countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh whose climate
resilience requirements amount in the billions of dollars, whereas smaller
countries such as ours are in the millions of dollars.
“There needs to be tailored financing mechanisms for
smaller island states. Other countries are starting to come to terms with
Asked whether the Cook Islands Government should
establish a separate Ministry for Climate Change Issues, Brown said the current
status of the Climate Change portfolio, which sits in the Office of the Prime
Minister, was sufficient for now.