The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) announced this week its ‘Melanesian Green Climate Fund,’ designed to mobilize investments from the public, private sector, donors, international and regional institutions to effectively address adaption needs of local communities most vulnerable to impact of climate change.
“The MSG ‘climate fund’ will introduce the conservation world in the pacific to a new and innovative form of partnership with the private sector. It will create a framework for the private sector and the communities who own the resources to address development priorities, whilst doing conservation and sustainable development in long-term partnerships,” Col. Saumatua said.
This was announced by Fiji’s environment minister Colonel. Samuela Saumatua when introducing the MSG Declaration on Environment and Climate Change (MSGDECC) at the IUCN World Conservation Congress here on Jeju island South Korea.
The MSG development partnership is based on the notion of “frontloading” which focuses on addressing immediate development needs of communities and engages them in long-term partnerships over the conservation of their ecosystems and biodiversity while deriving sustained income through the sustainable development for their resources.
MSG will identify key development partners from the private sector and government to source and manage funds to ensure sustained livelihoods among community resources owners while building green economies that focus on safeguarding ecosystems and the rich biodiversity.
The MSGDECC declaration outlines MSG’s vision or road map towards sustainable development and effective management of biodiversity and ecosystems. The MSG plan includes a framework for green growth as basis of all development; a Melanesian Blue Carbon Initiative; a Melanesian Terrestrial Commitment; and the Melanesian Green Climate Fund.
The Colonel said the expected results from this innovative partnership would be development gains for the communities, environment conservation gains for the ecosystems, biodiversity, and private sector gains through the sustainable exploitation of the resources.
Details of how the fund will work and subsequent criteria are still being looked at. However, investors wishing to extract resources within Melanesia are required through this declaration to make financial commitments upfront to help adaptation measures among local communities, use sustainable means of extracting resources, conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and rehabilitation programs.
“This declaration demonstrates the MSG’s commitment to fighting climate change, a critical issue we will be facing in the coming years and whose effects are already being felt by our communities,” Col. Saumatua who is the chairs the MSG environment ministers caucus said.
The sub-regional group which includes Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji are biodiversity hotspots vulnerable to effects of climate change, natural disasters, impact from invasive species and habitat destruction through development or over harvest due to increased population pressure.
Col. Saumatua listed varying degrees of environment and climate change challenges as:
- Threats to species and loss of biodiversity and invasion by alien species;
- Harvesting and exploiting natural resources such as forestry, fishery, mining and agriculture without suitable environmental and conservation safeguards;
- Soil erosion and degradation of coastal marine ecosystems;
- Loss of terrestrial ecosystem and resultant loss of vital water supply, food and traditional medicine, employment and income; and
- The impact of climate change with increasing numbers of villages and settlements resettled due to rising seas and inundated habitats to safer and higher ground.
“We in Melanesia believe we can effectively tackle this challenge through strong domestic action and robust regional cooperation. We believe that both are indispensable and complimentary. This is the basis of the MSG leaders adoption of the MSG Declaration on Environment and Climate Change.