[Durban, South Africa, 5 December 2011] - The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project presented to donors and implementing agencies during its side event at the 17th Conference of Parties held in Durban, South Africa showcasing progress and lessons learnt on their adaptation efforts on the ground.It was an opportunity to hear first hand from the National Coordinators from Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu as they shared their achievements from their national projects that are to help local communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The presentation was a heart warming one for Dr. Pradeep Kurukulusuriya, who said he was pleased to see the actual implementation of adaptation work on the ground.
Dr Kurukulusuriya is the United Nations Development Program Bangkok Technical Adviser in support of UNDP-Global Environment Facility Climate Change Adaption.
"I have been associated with the PACC Project since 2005 when it was simply a five page concept and now to see these activities and impacts in place it is really encouraging to keep doing and supporting the Pacific region with accessing finance."
A point raised by the PACC member countries was the need to upscale the project however the issue of accessing further funds would be a major challenge.
"We at GEF have started to scale up funding especially on the Special Climate Change Fund of which most of the Pacific Island Countries are recipients," said the Global Environment Facility Small Island Developing States Focal Point Mr Rawleston Moore.
"We have managed to scale up funding and we should be up to about $500 million which is still short of the target. We know the kind of difficulty is there in raising funds in the Special Climate Change Fund however with a presentation on the actual on-the-ground adaptation efforts showcasing to donors the fruit of their investments assists them in a better position to raise that fund."
Dr Kurukulusuriya highlighted the UNDP will continue to support the Pacific in accessing additional resources for adaptation, an area that they are continuing to strengthen in the region.
"The success we've had with mobilising funds from the Australian Agency for International Development for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme partnership is an example of that, and we are also looking to expand other types of partnership with other Pacific Regional agencies to ensure that there is more resources and more support for countries in the Pacific as they embark on this long journey."
H.E Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, the Ambassador from Samoa to the UN shared his support of the adaptation efforts by the member countries under the PACC Project and highlighted the importance of partnership for sustainable outputs.
"For partnership to be sustainable there has got to be an element of trust and I think that has been shown by the presentation this afternoon.
"The presentation shared with us is what is actually happening on the ground and too often donors don't get to hear our message but I also think of having this as an opportunity for the accountability process.
He added, "We need to ensure as a minimum that the Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries will take the floor in terms of the resources, whether it's a million dollar fund or a billion dollar fund, by the time Pacific SIDS proposals are considered most of the funds is exhausted because we are competing with other countries; we have to be here in the international arena and we have to put our needs across."
The PACC Project has 14 member countries and territories with the focus to enhance their adaptive capacity in three development sectors - Coastal Zone Management, Food Production and Food Security, and Water Resource Management.
The project is implemented by the UNDP in partnership with SPREP and funded by GEF and AusAID with support from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.