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Climate finance forum shows Pacific potential

A Green Climate Fund forum which wound up today in Tonga has added another building block to the Pacific region’s efforts to respond to climate change.
The four-day Structured Dialogue with the Pacific, a region particularly vulnerable to climate change, brought together a range of key GCF partners to share climate approaches and provide clarity on where to direct climate finance.
“The Dialogue has been successful in identifying the way ahead for focusing climate finance in this vulnerable part of the world, particularly in building climate resilience and tapping the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said GCF Executive Director Howard Bamsey.
Mr Bamsey pointed out the Pacific region already has a strong presence in the growing portfolio of GCF-supported projects. The Fund has approved seven projects totalling more than USD 250 million in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, he said.
Attending the Dialogue were ministers from countries across the Pacific region, in addition to senior government officials, including representatives of GCF National Designated Authorities (NDAs) and focal points, which act as the main conduit between GCF and countries where GCF funds climate projects.  Other key GCF partners attending included accredited entities, readiness delivery partners, and representatives of the private sector and civil society.
Despite being some of the world’s smallest greenhouse gas emitters, Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are forecast to be hit hard by climate change. This is partly because of their sensitivity to the rise of sea levels and sea temperatures, which a recent study shows will disproportionately damage fisheries and poor communities.
GCF Board Co-Chair Ewen McDonald said a major achievement of the Dialogue was the way it has further empowered Pacific island countries to decide the direction and type of climate finance in the region.
“Pacific island countries are taking strong leadership roles in promoting climate action because of the region’s vulnerability to climate impacts,” said Mr McDonald, highlighting Fiji’s presidency of this year’s global climate change summit in November 2017.
GCF will build on the work from the Dialogue to further streamline the flow of climate finance to the Pacific, including GCF’s readiness support which enhances country ownership and access to the Fund.
In another sign of the region’s engagement with the climate challenge, Pacific government officials joined global experts from the private sector at a meeting in Samoa last month to discuss the role of climate risk financing.