The USAID Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation Facility for Asia and the Pacific (ADAPT Asia-Pacific) 2nd Annual Meeting was held on 3-4 June 2013 in Nadi, Fiji, in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). This second regional meeting was part of the first-ever “Pacific Climate Change Resourcing Event Week” under the auspices of Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) Resources Working Group (RWG) and supported by UNDP, USAID and AusAID.
The event followed a three-day Pacific Climate Change Financing Workshop (30 May – 1 June 2013) in Nadi, Fiji. Together the combined events sought to improve Pacific Island Countries’ (PICs) access to funds that would help finance their vital climate change adaptation projects. The event answered the call from the Pacific community at last year’s ADAPT Asia-Pacific first annual meeting in Bangkok, Thailand to further engage in the region, address PIC-specific issues and share experience across the Asia-Pacific region.
Around 110 participants attended the meeting – comprising officials from 14 PICs (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) and five Asian government institutions (India, Indonesia, Maldives, the Philippines and Vietnam). Other representatives attended from Pacific regional agencies (PIFS, SPREP, SPC, and USP), bilateral and multilateral development partners (ADB, AusAID, GIZ, UNDP, USAID, and World Bank), as well as civil society and the private sector.
ADAPT Asia-Pacific 2nd Annual Meeting
The ADAPT Asia-Pacific 2nd Annual Meeting opened with a welcome reception on the evening of 2 June 2013. From 3-4 June, two full days of meeting sessions were co-facilitated by Ms. Coral Pasisi, Regional and International Issues Adviser of the PIFS and Mr. Rex Horoi, Executive Director for the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI). Their contributions added to an open and interactive discussion between the speakers, panelists, and all participants.
Proceedings commenced with welcoming remarks by Mr. Jeff Robertson, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Fiji where he noted that through the USAID’s ADAPT Asia-Pacific project, the United States is seeking to strengthen their support for climate adaptation strategies amongst partners in the Pacific. This was followed by an introduction of the USAID funded ADAPT Asia-Pacific project and an overview of the expected outcomes of the meeting by Mr. Lee Baker, Chief of Party, USAID/ADAPT Asia-Pacific Project.
Plenary session: The Pacific Priority for Climate Financing
Ambassador Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Samoa’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary/Head of Mission to the UN and Alternate Green Climate Fund Board Member representing Small Islands Developing States, and Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, PIFS Secretary General, provided keynote remarks that outlined the Pacific region’s priorities for climate financing. Ambassador Feturi emphasized the complexity of the global climate finance architecture and stressed the need for customized modalities of access to finance and delivery of aid commensurate with the Pacific islands’ relatively small sizes and capacity constraints. Mr. Slade noted that the modalities of delivery must be tailored to suit each individual Pacific country’s unique circumstances and that use of country systems must be considered as a first option.
Keynote addresses were followed by presentations from Mr. Richard Neves, Secretary of Finance, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Cook Islands and Mr. Frank Wickham, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology, Solomon Islands who shared with participants their respective Pacific island country experience, opportunities, and challenges in accessing climate financing.
Plenary session: Sources of Funding and Putting Funding into Action
Ambassador Feturi presented the status and directions of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), sharing his knowledge as Alternate Member for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the GCF Board. Bilateral and multilateral development agencies including AusAID, USAID, ADB, World Bank, and UNDP each presented their climate change programs and support mechanisms in the Pacific. Mr. Scott Hook, PIFS’ Economic Infrastructure Adviser underscored in a final keynote address the practical options and modalities for climate change financing available to the Pacific community based on work conducted in the region.
The second and final day featured parallel sessions on three major financing modalities that highlighted on-ground experiences from Asian and Pacific countries, donors, and civil society representatives.
Parallel session 1: National/Regional Trust Funds and Development Banks
UNDP’s Regional Climate Policy Advisor, Mr. Kevin Petrini, moderated the session, which included presentations from the Tuvalu Trust Fund, the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund, the Micronesia Conversation Fund, and the recently established Tonga Trust Fund. Session participants acknowledged that each fund has its own unique approach. Cooperation and coordination among national agencies and harmonization of funding requirements were identified as critical components to well-functioning trust funds. A strong commitment among all partners, donors included, was also considered as key to the long-term sustainability of the funds.
Parallel session 2: Direct Budget, Sector and Project support
GIZ’s Climate Change Adviser, Ms. Marita Manley, moderated the session which included presentations from the Global Environment Facility Division of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources, the Global Climate Change Alliance, and the Global Environmental Facility. Many participants acknowledged that public financial management systems were already being strengthened at the country level. International climate finance should therefore avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’, but make use of existing local systems and join ongoing efforts with national institutions.
Parallel session 3: National Implementing Entities (NIE)/Regional Implementing Entities (RIE)/Multilateral Implementing Entities (MIE)
PIFS’ Climate Change Coordination Officer, Mr. Exsley Taloiburi, moderated the session which included presentations from the Cook Islands’ Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, the Philippines’ Department of Finance, the Adaptation Fund, India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and SPREP. It was noted that insufficient understanding of fiduciary standards were found in several NIE accreditation applications. Robust procurement procedures and internal audit functions with proper documentation are critical for NIEs and need to be developed. Participants then agreed that maintaining NIE status is a continuous process that goes beyond the accreditation phase.
Development Marketplace of Climate Financing Priorities and Needs
The innovative Development Marketplace ‘carousel’ session provided a valuable opportunity for Pacific countries to present their priority activities to help improve access to climate financing to development agencies present at the meeting. The marketplace was the first of its kind in the region and was designed to maximize, through a country-driven process, the opportunities for countries and development partners to engage effectively on how best they can match donors’ existing and planned climate change financing support with specific country needs. Development partners also better understood the on-ground challenges Pacific countries face, including navigating donors’ requirements and prioritizing development needs. Feedback from country delegations was extremely positive, with the suggestion made that such marketplaces could become a mainstreamed part of future regional meetings, given its benefits for both countries and development partners.
Plenary Session: The Way Forward
Concluding the ADAPT Asia-Pacific 2nd Annual Meeting was a collective small group reflection on the way forward. Participants considered questions on what key messages from the meeting should go to: Finance and Economic Ministers; the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR); the Pacific Island Countries and Development Partners Meeting; and other international fora. Key issues identified included a call for stronger support for capacity development, harmonization of funding requirements across donor agencies, and improvement of sectoral coordination among national institutions.
Mr. Baker thanked all participants for their active engagement during the meeting. Ambassador Feturi also expressed his and the Pacific countries’ appreciation of the United States government’s reengagement in the region. In closing, Mr. Alfred Nakatsuma, Director of Regional Environment Office, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, reaffirmed USAID’s commitment – through the ADAPT Asia-Pacific project – to continue assuming a humble, yet catalytic, role to facilitate capacity development in the region.