Samoa’s Minister for Finance, the Hon Sili Epa Tuioti, and Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, have welcomed delegates to the first GCF Board meeting to be held in the Pacific.
Samoa and Australia are co-hosting the GCF Board’s final meeting for 2016 in Apia, Samoa from 13 to 15 December. Both countries are hoping that the occasion draws much-needed attention to the unique and diverse needs and opportunities for climate finance in the region.
Speaking at the official welcome reception held at Samoa’s Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, Minister Fierravanti-Wells commended the GCF on its progress over the last 12 months and stressed the crucial role that the Fund must play in supporting climate resilience in the Pacific.
“The fact is, no region has a greater stake in effective action on climate change,” Minister Fierravanti-Wells said. “This is part of the reason why Samoa, along with five other Pacific island nations, were the first to have ratified the Paris Agreement.’’ Minister Sili Epa Tuioti welcomed the GCF community to Samoa and reflected on the impacts the region has faced due to climate change.
The ministers invited delegates to explore the “Warm Waters” photo exhibition on display and to seek observations from its creator, international photojournalist Vlad Sokhin. The Warm Waters exhibition is part of Mr Sokhin’s photographic essay on the physical and social impacts of climate change in the Pacific and will be on display throughout the Board meeting.
Earlier in the day, the Government of Samoa facilitated a visit by GCF Board members to several sites on the island of Upolu affected by climate change and 2012’s cyclone Evan which devastated the region. The visit was a rare and valuable opportunity to gain first-hand insights into the climate change challenges faced by Pacific island countries.