The Green Climate Fund and the Asian Development Bank have deepened their support bolstering Pacific island countries’ climate responses with the signing of a key funding agreement to improve Fiji’s water management.
The signing of the Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) on Monday in Nadi, Fiji prepares the legal groundwork for GCF to begin transferring its USD 31 million contribution to ADB in this USD 222 million project.
Droughts and heavy rain are putting Fiji’s existing urban water supply and sanitation under strain. This infrastructure-based adaptation project will help alleviate this problem, expounded by rising sea levels, by assisting Fiji move its main water intake for the capital of Suva upstream – projected to benefit over 300,000 people.
GCF Executive Director Howard Bamsey said the timing of the FAA signing is favourable, as it strengthens Fiji’s domestic approach to climate change just as the Pacific island nation is preparing to play a prominent role in international climate efforts.
The signing took place on the side line of discussions in Fiji supporting the nation’s presidency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Convention of the Parties (COP23) to be held on 6 to 17 November.
“Pacific islands have a special role in climate change as these low-lying nations are among the first to feel its impacts, such as from rising sea levels,” said Mr Bamsey. “GCF is pleased to have now approved almost USD 280 million of investments for Pacific Island countries, including in Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.”
The ADB, a GCF Accredited Entity, announced during the signing it expects to more than double climate specific financing to its Pacific island member countries to over $USD500 million between 2017 and 2020.
ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff added that ADB has been “supporting Fiji to improve water and sanitation for more than 20 years.”
“With this new investment, we expect by 2023 to assist Fiji expand water supply by 40,000 cubic meters per day, ensure 98 percent of households in Suva have access to clean water, and expand the sanitation network to an additional 4,500 households ensuring over 60 percent of households have access to reticulated sewerage.”
Also attending the COP preparatory meeting were Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and GCF Co-chair (Australia) Ewen McDonald.
Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the Asia Pacific region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $USD31.7 billion, including $USD14 billion in co-financing.
GCF was set up in 2010 by the 194 countries which are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deliver equal amounts of funding to mitigation and adaptation.