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Faster access to climate finance

Saturday 12 August 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Economy, Environment, Fiji, National, Pacific Islands, Regional


Faster access to climate finance
Pacific Islands Forum chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown in Fiji. PIFS / 23080719

Prime Minister Mark Brown highlighted the implementation of the redesigned Pacific Resilience Facility, which will help to ease climate financing for Pacific Island countries.

Speaking at a press conference in Suva, Fiji, after the two-day Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers meeting this week, Brown, who is also the Forum chair, said the facility was first proposed about six years.

It was set up as a means for attracting donor funding or development partner funding to support climate priorities for Pacific countries.

“Pacific countries have for a number of years voiced their concerns at the difficulty in accessing climate finance. So what we have done in the last few years, in particular last year, we redesigned this proposal for a Pacific Resilience Facility that will be targeted to development partners to put their funds into and used for Pacific adaptation measures specifically for Pacific countries.”

Brown said they saw this as a way to free up funds more quickly to members of Pacific Island countries to address climate and resilient initiatives.

The proposal will be addressed at the 52nd Pacific Islands Leaders meeting in Rarotonga in November for formal approval and adoption.

Brown further talked about other initiatives that were discussed at the meeting, saying that there was an update on economic performance in the region.

He said that output levels were being provided and are projected to reach their pre-pandemic GDP level by 2024, which is a good indication of the recovery of economies.

However, Brown also said that some countries are still struggling to get to those levels.

“We had the first day to talk to the private sectors, regional private sector representatives as well as civil society organisation representatives. I have to say that their contributions were well received and as finance ministers the relationship with our private sector is critical. The private sector is the engine of growth for our country and they play a critical role for us.”

The ministers also discussed correspondent banking relationships as a concern for a number of Pacific countries.

Brown said: “Banking is an important aspect of financial structures within countries to enable transfer of funds through trades or remittances and we welcome Australia and New Zealand’s input and support to address some of these concerns as well as with the World Bank.”

The ministers also discussed about labour mobility, Brown said.

“Labour mobility has provided an avenue for many people from Pacific countries an opportunity to earn income working in Australia and New Zealand and an opportunity for remittances to be sent back home.”

He said they also acknowledged the flip side, where some issues and concerns were raised, in particular about worker welfare, to ensure that workers are receiving fair working conditions, and that the issues around worker exploitation are also addressed.

“In addition to that, there are concerns around the loss of good working capital from our Pacific Island countries taking advantage of the labour scheme and how these are affecting some of our member countries with the domestic labour force.”

Brown said that Forum finance ministers also discussed the consideration of visa-free travel for citizens of Pacific countries.