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