Pacific Can’t Access Concessional Loans For Climate Mitigation

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Pacific Can’t Access Concessional Loans For Climate Mitigation Fiji AG tells IMF meeting global rules don’t work in small islands

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 30, 2016) – Fiji is seen to be a middle income country with a gross domestic product per capita of $US4300 ($F9001).

However, it cannot access concessional loans from the International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank or World Bank when it comes to funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This was revealed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a panel discussion at the International Monetary Fund meeting in India last week.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said although Fiji and other small Pacific Island countries were more vulnerable, they still could not access those concessional loans from ADB, World Bank or IMF.

Some of the discussions, he said, brought home the point that there were obviously certain measures that countries with their own sovereign nature would want to adopt the economic opportunity for them and then they exploit.

"Now the question is how best you do it without you having a large carbon footprint," he said in a round table discussion.

"Just to put into perspective I was recently at a gathering in Singapore wearing my hat as the minister responsible for civil aviation where carbon footprint of many of the Pacific Island countries is very large when it comes to civil aviation.

"So they wanted us to reduce our carbon footprints but rather than carrying out an assessment on a national basis they are simply looking at other various segments within our economy."

He said the reality was that many Pacific Island countries were located in a vast expanse of ocean.

"We simply cannot drive to the next country like in Europe, Africa or Asia for that matter nor can we catch the train. We actually have to use aircraft or ships or boat. I think the approach should be an international approach in terms of assessment," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"Now there maybe for example carbon footprint output in one segment of the economy in an Asian country many larger but in other areas they might be doing well.

"Maybe their energy carbon footprint maybe quite low but maybe higher in other sectors too.

"If we are able to take that international approach you may be able to have a very good effective carbon trading system in return that could in fact finance a lot of adaptation measures that are required in very vulnerable countries," he said.

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