Solomons want Adaptation Fund pledges realized quickly

,

Solomon Star Newspaper, Katowice, Poland

While welcoming new pledges worth US$129 million for the Adaptation Fund, which supports projects that help vulnerable developing countries adapt to climate change, the Solomon Islands called on donor countries to turn their pledges into financial contributions as soon as possible.

At the United Nations climate change summit, COP24, it was announced that the Adaptation Fund broke a single-year resource mobilization record with nearly US$130 million in new pledges received.

In total, nine governments contributed donations, including two for the first time.

“This surpassed the Fund's previous record of US$95.9 million set last year,” a statement released at the COP stated.

In an interview, the head of the Solomon Islands delegation to the 24th Conference of Parties (COP), Dr. Melchior Mataki, said this was welcome news for the country, coming from the most vulnerable region in the world.

“The ministry (Environment Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology) welcomes the pledges for the replenishment of the Adaptation Fund," said Mataki, who is also the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

“Hopefully, these pledges are turned into financial contributions as soon as possible."

He explained that the Solomon Islands is the first beneficiary of the Adaptation Fund in the Pacific region, where a food security adaptation project (SWoCK project) was implemented through the UNDP via the country’s Ministries of Agriculture & Livestock, and Environment.

Speaking this week when addressing the high-level summit, Mataki declared his country’s full support behind the call for the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement.

“The need for adaptation is pervasive across all sectors including agriculture, fisheries, water resources, health and human settlements in the Solomon Islands," he said.

“Consequently, there is a need for enhanced and predictable financing for adaptation.

“Whilst there is a need for new and additional climate finance, it is difficult to completely separate climate and development challenges in the context of a very vulnerable and least developed country such as the Solomon Islands,” Mataki added.

Accordingly, he said climate-funding mechanisms need to acknowledge the intricate and inseparable linkages between climate and development issues and solutions.

The countries that made pledges to the Adaptation Fund this week are Germany (70 million EUR), France (15 million EUR), Italy (7 million EUR), Sweden (50 million SEK), the Walloon Region of Belgium (4 million EUR), the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium (465,000 EUR) and first-time contributors the European Commission (10 million EUR) and New Zealand (NZ$ 3 million). Ireland (300,000 EUR) later announced a new contribution during high-level statements at COP24.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms. Patricia Espinosa has also lauded the contributors, while acknowledging the record demand the Fund has been under, citing US$264 million in project requests received at its last Board meeting alone, as well as its effective adaptation work on the ground for the most vulnerable communities.

"We need to see greater ambition," she said.

Ms Espinosa also stated that the Adaptation Fund has a vital role to play, by bridging one of the most crucial gaps by funding concrete adaptation projects for the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

COP23 President, the Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama, also praised the Fund's project in Fiji to help vulnerable settlements adapt to climate change and disaster risks.

Meanwhile, Mataki said that in terms of Solomon Islands’ access to the funds, the country is currently finalising its National Adaptation Plan, which has been developed through a national stakeholder consultation process that identified the adaptation needs and priorities of the Pacific Island country.