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Dr Melchior Mataki

Solomon Islands

Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Government of the Solomon Islands Represented by

Dr Melchior Mataki

Permanent Secretary
The 2017 Ministerial Dialogue (or Pre-COP) ahead of the upcoming 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Fiji from 17 to 18 October. To mark the event, and as Fiji will preside over the upcoming COP, GCF is featuring a special spotlight on Small Island Developing States. This edition brings us to the Solomon Islands.
 
Dr Mataki is the Solomon Islands National Designated Authority (NDA) to GCF. Dr Mataki took up his current position as Permanent Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology in 2013. GCF had the opportunity to sit down with him during a visit to the Fund’s Headquarters in Songdo, Republic of Korea.

What are the major challenges and opportunities in implementing the Paris Agreement in your part of the world?

There are many obstacles in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, but what is important is that the Pacific region is committed to the agreement, which the Pacific islands were among the first countries to sign and ratify. On challenges, it would have to be means of implementation: financing and capacity building. These two areas are quite acute for us and will determine how well we can implement the priorities in our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). This is important because we will be judged by our citizens as to how well we deliver on our INDCs.

How will the Fund’s Readiness resources help underpin your climate action goals?

Our intention is to use the resources available through the GCF Readiness programme to strengthen the role of Solomon Islands’ National Designated Authority so the institution can deliver on its mandate. We want to focus on communicating why the GCF is important, what the country stands to benefit from engaging with the Fund, and how to better orientate national institutions in line with the requirements of the GCF and that of other multilateral climate funds. We also anticipate that our engagement with the Readiness programme will help build out the key priorities that have been identified in our INDC as well as to kick-start the development of our national adaptation plan. Ultimately, we view Readiness as an opportunity to synthesize and distill what we need to work on to develop a pipeline of high-quality projects for the GCF.

What are your climate priorities?

The INDC of the Government of the Solomon Islands presents clear objectives. For mitigation, it is prioritizing renewable energy generation and sustainable transportation. Looking at adaptation, the priorities are numerous. However, working with our coastal communities to reduce their vulnerability to the impact of sea level rise, intense storms and tropical cyclones is obvious. Some islands will have to be vacated because the sea is overtaking the land, causing inundation, destroying crops and vegetation, and contaminating groundwater. This is a hard reality that entails the resettlement of people. In addition, we would like to safeguard our major public infrastructure against climate change, such as hospitals, clinics and schools.

Are you hoping to bring forward a national institution for accreditation to the GCF?

Yes, discussions are underway to see which government institution could be the best candidate to have its capacity built and strengthened institutionally to carry out the functions of an Accredited Entity to the GCF. We are also very mindful of the fact that the private sector and non-governmental organizations can also be accredited. But for these latter two types of stakeholders and potential partners, we need to engage more with them to fully understand their interest and capacities. This dialogue is important because, as the NDA, we want to support an entity that will meet the Fund’s requirements, and this requires carrying out due diligence at the country level before we nominate any direct access entities for potential accreditation. Having said that, the fact that we do not have a national direct access Accredited Entity did not stop us from partnering with the World Bank to submit to the GCF the Tina River hydropower project that was approved by the GCF Board at its sixteenth meeting in March 2017.

How do you engage Solomon Islanders in the decision-making process for your GCF projects and programmes?

One of the challenges we currently face as the NDA is how best to raise awareness about the GCF, what it stands for, and how as the NDA we intend to work with communities to develop a country-owned portfolio of projects. This must be done through public consultations with our stakeholders, both within and outside government, and in communities. The Tina River hydropower project will serve as an excellent platform to profile the GCF and highlight its potential. We hope to get Readiness support to help conduct country-wide consultations, especially in terms of building our country programme with the GCF.

QUOTE

“The Solomon Islands places much hope on the Green Climate Fund in being truly transformative and innovative in its approaches to support developing countries meet the challenge of climate change,”
- Dr Melchior Mataki