Monday, 21 March 2011 10:45 AM

Samoa Represents Small Islands Development States on Climate Fund Committee

Press Release - The Green Climate Fund of 30 billion dollars to address climate change in developing countries was a topic for discussion at the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Alofi, Niue this week.

In terms of capitalization of the new Fund, Parties agreed that developed counties will "commit, to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD100 billion per year by 2010 to address the needs of developing countries."

In order for these funds to be spent and dispersed the Green Climate Fund must be designed by a Transitional committee which was an outcome of the international climate change meeting in Cancun this year.

Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, the Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations spoke to all participants about the Green Climate Fund. Samoa is the representative to the transitional committee on behalf of the Small Islands Developing States.

"Unless the Green Climate Fund is going to be designed in such a way to respond optimally and in an equitable manner to the uniquely Pacific climate change needs of our island countries, irrespective of our sizes, political and economic influence or our colonial past," said Ambassador Elisaia.

"If it cannot guarantee that as a minimum, then maybe we should opt out and do something else more productive and useful for our people. But we are not self defeatist, and we thrive on being challenged. We must bring all our partners together, as cooperation, collaboration and partnership is important. We must move forward together on this."

The Green Climate Fund was formed in the Copenhagen Accord and includes billions of dollars to be spent in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for tackling climate change. It is to be made up of new and additional resources and not be part of the AID funding that is already dispersed in the Pacific region.

The Transitional Committee will recommend for approval. to the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on the Convention on Climate Change in South Africa at the end of this year, documents outlining operation of the fund.

Once complete, the next step is for Pacific countries to work to ensure the Green Climate Fund will work effectively in the region.

"We need credible data that can validate and support our argument for tailored modalities and a SIDS special window to respond comprehensively to our climate-related needs," said Ambassador Elisaia.

"We can be passionate about our challenges and aspirations for all we can, but if we do not have hard data and well-thought our proposals to back up our arguments, no one in the Transitional Committee will take us seriously."

The Pacific islands are clear as to their expectations of the new Green Climate Fund -

Chanel Iroi, Solomon Islands: "At this stage its welcome news, we have to work hard to make sure this fund has an expediting process, we want to make sure we can access the funds as we have a lot of experience with challenges in accessing funds. Hopefully the transitional committee will look at these issues as to how best these funds can be accessed so we can actually get the work happening on the ground."

Ms. Tanya Temata - Cook Islands: "My expectation is that it's an expedited fund we get it faster, quicker and easier to the countries. That's my biggest hope so we can get things on the ground running."

Ms. Luisa Malolo - Tonga: "I would like to see more implementation projects in terms of climate change projects we should try to minimize conducting so much consultation and awareness assessments before we can get the funds. From a country point of view we really want to see results happening on the ground."