16 March Alofi, Niue - Bringing people together was one of the goals of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable held in Alofi, Niue this week, and to help bring the donors together with climate change experts, a Funding Fair was held.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) hosted a dinner and funding fair for all participants, allowing for countries and NGO's to spend time with different donors to talk informally and discuss possible paths of collaboration together.
"It was very useful," said Pasha Carruthers of the Cook Islands, "we met with the EU and AusAID, it was quick and useful to have that 'face-to-face' time and is much better than having endless presentations, it's nice to have a conversation with our donors."
She recommends the Funding fair be a continuing component of the PCCR and to allow for SPREP to prepare for a more structured event in 2013.
The Solomon Islands representative at the PCCR, Chanel Iroi also agrees the funding fair should continue, saying this regional gathering improves each time it is held.
"It shows the PCCR is a forum where the government, NGO's, resident organisations and donors come together to deliberate and discuss a common goal which is effecting all of us in the region."
"I think the funding fair is a welcome part of this forum because you talk directly to the donors, those who you get funds from the help you implement development projects in our country."
It is not only the countries that found the funding fair an effective way to allow for information talks with donors, the civil society attending the PCCR also learnt a valuable lesson from the event and encourages SPREP to ensure this is to become a part of future forums.
"I learnt that NGO's really have to be prepared, bring your proposals with you to these events," said Ulamila Kurai Wragg of the Pacific Gender and Climate Change Coalition.
"NGO's should not be scared of the funders or the amount of money you ask for, just make sure that when you ask for it you have the proposal ready and then take it to the funders in the manner that they would like to hear."
During the dinner and funding fair hosted by SPREP, a presentation was made by the Global Environment Fund Adviser for the Pacific, Mr Joe Stanley of SPREP. He gave a brief overview of GEF funding in the region and a glimpse to the future path.
Donors present at the fund fair included the EU, ADB, AusAID, UNDP and UN REDD. The NGO, 350.org was also part of the fair, sharing information about their role and work in supporting the Pacific in addressing climate change issues.