Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika
Friday 11 December, 2009: COPENHAGEN -- Governments in the Pacific, regional organisations and civil society groups will from March 2010 have unprecedented access to a new stream of direct funding for climate change adaptation initiatives. The key word according to the Adaptation Fund (AF) is "direct access". Explaining exactly what this will pose for small islands states, the Fund managers say they are well aware of past constraints experienced with other funding mechanisms and are keen to draw crucial lessons from those. One of the critical questions raised today came from the Solomon Islands who questioned just how transparent such a fund will be against the backdrop of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which up until this year has handed out funds to some 16 countries. Out of that 142 states received not more than $US475,000. China, India and the US were amongst the four nations receiving more than $US1.5 million. In contrast, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which include the Pacific region have received $US500,000 from GEF. Fund Director Farouk Iqbal Khan (see YouTube below) clarified that the AF will be entirely separate and independent of GEF, although GEF will for the time being, remain its secretariat. A unique feature of the AF lies in the fact that it will be the first fund to be financed by a truly international revenue source that exists because of an internationally agreed climate change policy framework. One aspect of that will see climate change mitigation projects registered under the Clean Development Mechanism channelling at least 2 percent of their emission reduction certificates into the AF accounts. This represents a totally new approach to climate change funding. The 32 member Adaptation Fund board also includes two seats from the Pacific. So far Fiji, Tuvalu and Samoa have put up names of their respective nominees through its membership with AOSIS. AF directors Farouk Iqbal Khan and Chairman Jan Ledergren explained the finer details of the Fund.
Farouk: My sense is that there is receptivity to this idea. The Adaptation Fund at least from the developing country's side is that there are views with some variations that perhaps the adaptation fund with all its institutional arrangements in place could possibly be a much larger funding window for adaptation within that financial mechanism. If governments wishes to put forward stakeholders such as those at the sub regional and regional organisational levels, as long as they met the standards the idea is to keep all our options open for countries to be able to access the funds.
Ledergrin: We will try to make it as just as possible. It will not be easy but at least we have experiences of other funds and problems mentioned here in the past.
Farouk: This institution is different from GEF. GEF is our secretariat. This is an institution distinct from GEF and we have as yet not moved into financing any projects.This will be the first project for which we well be calling by March.--ENDS