GCF partners with Save the Children on major Vanuatu climate resilience project

  • Article type News update
  • Publication date 20 May 2022

GCF and Save the Children have signed an agreement on a major new community-based climate change adaption project in Vanuatu.  The signing follows swiftly after the project’s approval at the most recent GCF Board meeting in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Vanuatu Community-based Climate Resilience Project is the second GCF project approved in Vanuatu. The project, worth nearly USD 37 million, includes a GCF grant of over USD 26 million, with additional co-financing from the Governments of Vanuatu and Australia and Save the Children Australia.

The project will help communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to protect their livelihoods, through a range of adaptation measures delivered at the local level.

Activities under the project will allow increased access to climate information and early warning data, support climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries and improve economic opportunities for vulnerable communities, while promoting sustainable development.

The project will benefit more than 200, 000 people across the entire country and has been hailed as game changing for one of the world’s most climate-affected countries.

Welcoming the project, GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said: “GCF is proud to partner with Save the Children Australia on this project, which will help highly vulnerable rural and coastal communities to increase their resilience to climate change and to protect their livelihoods with a range of innovative and targeted adaptation measures. It will make a real difference in a country which is being severely affected by climate change.”

Save the Children Australia acting CEO Mat Tinkler said: “For children in Vanuatu, climate change isn’t some far away prospect, it’s placing them in harm’s way on a daily basis. Children and families in Vanuatu are experiencing increasingly fierce storms, longer droughts and stronger heatwaves.

“To help children to thrive, we need to work with whole communities to adapt to the immediate and unavoidable impacts of climate change. This project will empower some of the most climate-vulnerable communities in Vanuatu to meet the challenges of climate change head-on, so children are protected from the worst impacts of this escalating crisis.

“This is believed to be the biggest locally led climate adaptation project in the world to date, and it is the first of many such projects that Save the Children plans to support globally in the coming years.”

Vanuatu Minister for Climate Change Silas Bule Melve said: “This crisis is devastating the nation of Vanuatu, taking with it our livelihoods, our natural resources, territorial integrity, our cultural identities, our human rights and even our lives.

“Adaptation is the top climate priority for Vanuatu, for years we have been seeking increased international finance to help our people address these impacts, which they are now experiencing through no fault of their own. It is positive to see projects like this which are so needed in Vanuatu finally receiving funding.”

This innovative project views adaptation through a local lens.  It will be implemented by local government and community organisations, following extensive consultations with communities living with the effects of climate change, helping to build their capacity for sustainable development.

Key activities include establishing local disaster risk reduction committees, protecting and restoring 11,600 hectares of agricultural and fisheries sites and training smallholder farmers in climate-resilient agriculture techniques and fishers in effective coastal resource management.

GCF has a portfolio now worth USD 10.4 billion – nearly USD 39 billion with cofinancing - and is responding to the needs of Small Island Developing States like Vanuatu, through a range of innovative projects and flexible financing packages to help bridge climate investment gaps.

The meeting is one of four this year to consider climate finance proposals for developing nations.