Samoan talks climate finance in Morocco

The Executive Director of Siosiomaga Society Incorporated (OLSSI), Fiu Mataese Elisara has returned from Ouarzazate Morocco where he attended the Climate Investment Fund’s (CIF) 10 year anniversary meetings.

The event was held over two days, on the grounds of the Noor Concentrated Solar Panel complex, the world’s largest solar power site. 

Fiu was invited to speak in the closing ceremony of panellists, alongside the head of CIF Mafalda Duarte, the senior director on climate change in the World Bank John Roome and Al Moustapha Garba, the Nigerien Minister of Environment Urban Safety and Sustainable Development 

He used the privileged opportunity to share Samoa’s frustrations with a weakening global dialogue on the urgency of climate change action, as displayed at the Conference of the Parties in Poland last December.

But he described CIF as a “doctor that generates hope” for Samoa, as it continues to invest in radical climate change technologies.

“We greatly appreciate the fact that CIF has actually paved the way for other climate financing, to learn from them the kind of models they are presenting,” Fiu said.

“Even at the country level, we have heard that political oppositions have been able to come together and talk very collaboratively because of the fact that your transformational change and programming approach have actually forced many of our own countries to engage and talk to one other.”

“But as the voice of civil society in the fight against the impacts of climate change, Fiu was careful to make note of the impacts that climate investments can have when indigenous peoples and communities are not properly engaged.”

“There has to be, in my view from civil society, we needed to have some balance on issues of how that economic benefits are actually impacting on the lives of our people, on the limited and finite resources that the economic aspirations actually depend upon,” he said.

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The CIF Stakeholder Advisory Network (SAN), which includes official observers like Fiu has been an “innovative approach,” Fiu said, and he is waiting to see other climate financiers buy into the concept.

“One of the biggest things has been that for the first time we have been asked and engaged by the governments in their own national processes,” said Fiu.

To be invited to be part of the dialogue at a national level is a big step forward for civil society, he said.

But there is room for criticism too. Fiu made note of how adaptation, mitigation and technology transfers require funding and investment of between 500 and 600 billion US dollars each.

But donors to the CIF are each reducing their climate change portfolios.

“The enormity of the problem, versus the resources that can be mobilised to address that is immense,” Fiu said.

But CIF’s recent meetings on its 10 year journey has Fiu positive about the future.

“And I’m really happy because right now, the fact that CIF has the guts and boldness to get itself to be evaluated and be able to have that as the basis to self-direct its course is very positive and the fact that there is the ongoing plan of learning of the experience, that’s huge.”

CIF is one of the largest climate funds in the world. It spans 300 projects across 72 countries, and currently has about US$8 billion to its name.

In Samoa, CIF has invested nearly US$30 million in two major projects, under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience:  Enhancing Climate Resilience for West Coast Road Project and Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities.

It is funded by the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

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