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Pacific island climate threat requires early action, says regional representative at GCF workshop

Songdo,
Efforts are needed now to turn Pacific Island concerns over climate change as an existential threat into action, said a regional body representative during a Green Climate Fund workshop.

“The slow burn crisis of sea level rises, ocean acidification and impacts like coral reef bleaching is unfolding before our eyes,” said Simon Wilson, with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

A broad-based climate approach is essential in Pacific island countries, where the majority of people rely directly or indirectly on the natural environment for their livelihoods and wider economic development, he said.

The dearth of funding sources in many of the Pacific Island nations, accentuated by the small scale of the private sector, presents a major challenge, he added.

“Climate finance should filter through to ensure support at the community level. Non-government organizations, community groups and the private sector all offer expertise and capacity which can support this,” he said.

Mr Wilson called on GCF to continue its responsive, flexible and tailored support for developing countries to take climate action, including its close work with regional and country-based organizations.

SPREP and 21 of GCF’s other direct access Accredited Entities wound up the three-day Empowering Direct Access workshop on Thursday.

In his closing remarks, GCF Chief Financial Officer and Director of Support Services Javier Manzanares said the workshop had achieved its aim of helping GCF partners share their financing ideas, while GCF had received invaluable input on how to streamline its climate finance management.

“There is evidently a broad range of innovative ideas out there on how to reduce emissions and make communities more resilient to climate change,” he said.

During the final day of the workshop, participants heard how GCF is continuing to evolve as an organization. This includes an enhanced ability of independent monitors to ensure the Fund and its stakeholders operate at the highest level of integrity.

Ibrahim Pam highlighted the desire of the Independent Integrity Unit he heads to work closely with GCF partners in developing standards and capacities to ensure GCF resources are used responsibly.

In a separate session, GCF’s gender specialist Rajib Ghosal said the Fund is working to ensure women are not left behind in the climate initiatives it supports. Gender equity is embedded in GCF’s Governing Instrument, which guides all of the Fund’s operations, he added.

Mr Ghosal highlighted the strong gender component of a GCF-funded project by the Accredited Entity Acumen Fund, Inc., an investment fund, in which 500 women will be trained in the manufacture, repair and maintenance of off-grid solar products.

GCF holds regular forums around the world to learn about the specific climate finance needs of countries and regions. A workshop covering Eastern Europe and Central Asia will be held in Georgia next week on 31 May to 2 June. More details are available here.