Four Pacific Island nations have agreed to pool resources to create a $1.5 billion climate change fund which states can access to build their own infrastructure.
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (P.I.F.) secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor, said the proposed climate change fund was discussed during the Small Island States (S.I.S.) conference early in the week.
She said the establishment of the fund is important as it is an initiative for the Pacific Islands by the Pacific Islands.
“We have different framework from a policy side that leaders did want to have to set up, like the framework of resilient development in the Pacific.
“In this meeting and the work the Secretariat is doing with very small task force of people from Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji and New Zealand on the Pacific Resilience facility, which has been endorsed by the Economic Ministers.
“That would be to set up a fund in the region to retrofit our own infrastructure, so that we are prepared for disaster instead of waiting for it to happen and then asking for help after,” said Dame Meg.
The signatories to the fund want to raise $1.5 billion, which is one per cent of the gross domestic product (G.D.P.) of the Pacific multiplied by five years.
“We really hope that we get a lot of donors’ supporter, we want to raise $1.5 billion, which is one per cent of the G.D.P. of the Pacific multiplied by five years, which will be accessible to government, private sector and communities.
“We are working on that, by next year we have something underway and set up and it has given us quite a bit of discussions around that and I think why is this important is how the pacific can help itself,” added the P.I.F. secretary general.
The S.I.S. is one of several regional meetings convened in Apia in the lead up to the Forum Foreign Ministers conference yesterday, which Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi chaired.
Jonathan Pryke, the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands program director, described the proposed climate change funding mechanism as a ‘good initiative’ by the P.I.F.
“I think it is a good initiative where Pacific Island countries should chip in a bit, but I think there is expectation also that donors will be putting in a lot of that money, like Australia and New Zealand.”