Delivery Of Climate Financing Challenging For Cook Islands, Pacific Nations

Multiple applications, compliance requirements for same project difficult: Finance Minister

By Rashneel Kumar

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 10, 2017) – The delivery of climate finance from international funding organisations is a challenge for the Cook Islands and the other Pacific island nations, says Finance minister Mark Brown.

Brown, who was one of the panelists at the launch of the Asia-Pacific Climate Finance Fund (ACliFF) during the 50th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Japan last week, said there were a number of challenges in obtaining such funding.

Speaking to Devex, a social enterprise and media platform for the global development community, Brown said there was a huge difference between approval and disbursement of funds.

“The difficulty for many countries, particularly in the Pacific, is the difficult application process to obtain the funds, and the release of these funds, or getting approval for projects that need funding,” Brown said following the launch session of the new fund.

Another difficulty Pacific countries experience was getting climate financing organisations to understand the links between climate finance and their development programmes.

Brown said it’s been difficult to get that understanding through climate funding organisations, and they, in the Pacific, end up working on separate application processes, reporting and compliance requirements for just one project.

“For us if we don’t do that, the cost in recovery and rehabilitation is much, much higher,” Brown said.

“Speaking from a Pacific perspective, it’s often the case that billions of dollars required to meet the challenges in Asia, overwhelm the millions of dollars required to meet the challenges in the Pacific.

“To give you a specific example of that, the ACliFF, if you happen to look at the acronym up there, it’s missing out the P for Pacific.”

Speaking during the launch, Brown said the ACliFF facility would assist the Cook Islands in terms of building resilience to the local infrastructure after a catastrophic event.

The aim of ACliFF is to significantly increase climate investment by supporting ADB developing member countries in achieving their nationally determined contributions, the de-risking of climate investments, and the expansion of climate risk insurance.

Meanwhile Brown said the 50th Annual Meeting of ADB board of governors was a successful one for the Cook Islands.

He said there was a progress on the release of $10million [US$6.9 million] from Green Climate Fund towards increasing electricity storage for the country’s renewable energy programme.

“Also in making the case for recognition of the vulnerable nature of our island states to the effects of climate change.”

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