Press Release - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has issued a draft report on the future of funding for climate change in the Pacific region. This report is now being circulated for review comments, the link to this report is as below.

This is a major issue in the Pacific region given the commitments at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 to increase funding for climate change actions in the most vulnerable developing countries.

For example, the Copenhagen Accord commits developed countries to a goal of mobilising $100 billion US$ per year by 2020 for climate change in developing countries.

The draft SPREP report reviews the future of climate change financing in the region. It identifies options for more effective delivery of climate funds to Pacific countries, including a possible Pacific Regional Fund for Climate Change.

The report makes recommendations for a technical backstopping facility in the region to help countries better access funds for climate change.

This report originated from a request to SPREP from the 2009 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) meeting in Marshall Islands.

Since then, Pacific Leaders have asked for advice on options for accessing climate change financing at their 2010 meeting in Vanuatu. Environment Ministers at the 2010 SPREP meeting in Madang, PNG noted the importance of this issue and this was also echoed by the recent meeting of Finance and Economic Ministers in Niue.

"This draft study is particularly important for the Pacific region", notes David Sheppard, Director of SPREP, who further notes "with the expected of climate change funding after Copenhagen we need to look at options to ensure funding commitments are met and are delivered quickly to help Pacific countries adapt to climate change"

Pledges made in Copenhagen for fast-start financing are yet to fully materialize. The most recent reports as well as analysis of the fast-start partnership website (launched by Netherlands and others) clearly show funding currently available is largely a re-packaging of existing funding, and any additional funds are often being pledged through existing mechanisms such as the GEF and other multilateral funds. There is no simplified or uniform application process, as all funds are maintaining their existing procedures.

"While it is hoped and expected that the pledges made will eventually materialize, the sense of urgency in favour of a regional mechanism has perhaps waned a bit, and the key concern rests on having the technical and capacity support mechanism in place even if fast start financing does not happen in the near future," said Mr. Espen Ronneberg, SPREP's Climate Change Adviser.

Ronnenberg further notes "Having a key role in negotiations support, with knowledge of the latest developments in the Framework for the Convention on Climate Change process, and with the technical expertise in-house in support, SPREP is in an excellent position to coordinate the element of a regional backstopping mechanism for any financial mechanism that may eventuate at the international or regional levels, in close cooperation with other agencies and national focal points".

With over two decades of experience in this area, SPREP has extensive knowledge of working with the region on all aspects of climate change. Of most relevance to the current study, in particular in terms of the technical backstopping required, is the experience with technical and capacity support to Members in developing and implementing their climate change projects and programmes.

While the promise of up scaled sources of financing in Copenhagen has provided an impetus to the process of establishing a regional financing mechanism, the most important element at this stage would be to get the technical backstopping aspects in place - to allow better access to existing funds and to support PICs with any new funds becoming available.

The draft report is now being made available to SPREP National Focal Points as well as climate change experts and regional organizations, and was presented to Pacific Finance Ministers at their meeting in October.

It is expected that a wide range of comments will be forthcoming and it's the intention of SPREP to collect and synthesize these into a new revised report to be discussed in depth at the 2011 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) which will be held in Niue in March.