Submitted by admin on Sun, 02/10/2013 - 21:21
February 10, 2013 by admin
Representative of the Resident Representative of UNDP
Ladies and gentlemen

Welcome to this important workshop which will focus on the Mid Term Evaluation of the PACC project.

You have heard it so many times but I'll say it again - climate change is the biggest challenge facing Pacific island Countries – this has been clearly stated by Pacific leaders at each of the last 4 Pacific Island Forums I have attended

We know that Pacific islands and communities are among the most highly vulnerable to climate change impacts through changes in extreme weather events, sea-level rise, ocean warming and acidification. I have seen the stark impacts on visits to 17 of the 21 Pacific Island country and territory members of SPREP over the last 3 years.

PACC is significant as one of the first - and I believe still the best - programmes focused on practical climate adaptation measures in the Pacific and globally.

PACC is now into its fourth year and you are all aware the Mid Term Evaluation has recently been carried out. I assume you have all read the review and have formed your own opinions.

I must admit that I had mixed views on the review. On the one hand there are some clear and practical recommendations in this review - particularly related to project design - that we can and must act on.

On the other I was disappointed that the review didn't give more emphasis to the many positive outcomes of PACC, particularly the catalytic effects provided by establishing National Climate Change Committees, such as those I attended last week in Port Vila, or the multiplier effect provided by other donors getting behind PACC, through the PACC+ Project, particularly AusAID and USAID.

In my view the review also did not do justice to the scale and scope of the work you have all implemented in your countries - at both national and community levels.

However we need to move on, and move on quickly. I note that the PACC Project was originally scheduled to end in 2012 but has been extended to the end of 2014.

The clock is thus ticking.

The last PACC Board meeting in December agreed that this weeks' PACC regional meeting should be carried out to address key issues identified by the evaluation.

Taito has informed me this meeting will address four main areas:

1) The need to better link PACC to overall national climate change programming at the national level and also to better define how PACC will contribute to vulnerability and risk reduction at the national and community level;

2) Developing detailed planning frameworks for each country. The Evaluation pointed out that most of the planning and drive for the past three years was carried out at the regional level. Although this could be questioned in my view, there is certainly is a need to improve the planning documents for each country at this later stage of project implementation;

3) Better identification of project results so that they are better monitored and reported.

4) The need to better monitor and evaluate the work we carry out at the country and regional levels, with targets and indicators that reflect gender issues and informed by a clear understanding of enhanced resilience at national and community levels.

Our hope is that by the end of this week you will have improved plans and design documents, which will translate to better project implementation "on the ground" in your countries.

I note this weeks' agenda has been structured to achieve each of these objectives. You have a busy week ahead of you and I wish you well.

I would just like to highlight a few issues.

Firstly, sustainability. The PACC Project is scheduled to finish in end 2014 but it is important to consider how the outcomes of PACC can continue beyond this time. This region - and other regions around the world - have seen many great projects and programmes which have sputtered to an end when the money has run out - if this happens to PACC I will be very disappointed. We need to consider how PACC programmes and results can be institutionalized within each country and how additional resources can be mobilized. Sustainability is an important challenge that I remind Taito and the PACC Team about every time we meet - I'm sure they are tired of me doing so !

Second, linkages and partnership. The challenges of climate change are so great that we must all work together. This calls for actions at national, regional and international levels. Nationally your key agencies need to strengthen cooperation, based on the work supported by PACC on National Climate Change Committees and JNAPs and ensure that approaches to climate change are cross sectoral and multi disciplinary.

Regionally, the CROP (Council of the Regional Organizations of the Pacific) agencies need to increase cooperation. The CROP CEOs Task Force on Climate Change and the associated Working Group for Action on Climate Change (WACC) are important steps in the right direction but we must go further to ensure our efforts are bought together to support country priorities.

I believe the Joint Meeting of the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Roundtables, together with the Pacific Meteorological Council, in July this year in Suva, is an excellent example of integration and linkage and I hope you will all attend.

PACC itself is a great example of regional cooperation. PACC has shown the benefit of a regional approach to tackling common issues, using resources synergistically, and sharing experiences. PACC is a model and a pioneering project in this region and globally.

This underlines why PACC must continue beyond the life of the current funding cycle.

Third, learning. There have been many lessons from PACC - both good and bad. It is essential that these lessons are captured, disseminated and applied to future adaptation programmes. We believe the SPREP Climate Change Portal can greatly assist this process.

In closing I would like to thank you all for your efforts in your countries under PACC. I would also like to thank UNDP - at SPREP we really value and appreciate our partnership with UNDP on PACC and on other joint projects.

You have a busy schedule and I'm sure you will be tired at the end of the week. Clearly with PACC there are a number of positive and negative stories – I urge you to be open and honest in raising and addressing these issues through the course of this week.

I hope you can also take the time while here to enjoy beautiful Samoa and also enjoy the company of SPREP and UNDP staff.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome again and I wish you all the best for a productive and enjoyable meeting.

Thank you, Fa'afetai lava