Prime Minister of Tonga Siaosi Sovaleni
Climate Change Resilience
General News

23 May 2023, Apia Samoa - Transformative Climate Finance investment that help Pacific countries implement measures to counter the adverse impacts of climate change should be scalable, contextual, flexible, predictable, innovative and demand-driven.
The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni, made the call when he addressed delegates at the fourth Pacific Ocean Pacific Climate Change Conference (POPCCC) at the National University of Samoa (NUS) from 20 – 23 May 2024. 

Jointly organised by the National University of Samoa (NUS), the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), the conference is guided by the theme: ‘Our Ocean, Our Home: Climate Resilience for a Blue Pacific.’ It was officially opened by Samoa’s Prime Minister, Hon. Fiame Dr. Naomi Mataafa on Tuesday.

During his keynote address, Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku applauded the convening of the conference saying is a testament of the recognition to come together to address the impacts of the climate crisis. He also welcomed the theme of the meeting, saying it aligns fully with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific.

“Our blue Pacific Ocean ensures our well-being, our welfare but beyond that the survival and welfare of all of us globally,” he said. “As incoming chair of Forum meeting in Tonga, I look forward, as I am sure most leaders are, to being updated about some of these key challenges and what measures to mitigate them, and funding modalities.”

The POPCCC, a multi-disciplinary conference, is bringing together experts from the private, public, and civil society, and a variety of participants from the arts, faith communities, industry, and other backgrounds to look at ways where, together, we can all play our part to address climate change. According to the Prime Minister of Tonga, transformative climate financing is a key part of the solution.

“Let there be no doubt, we must urgently secure unprecedented levels of financial investments to move ahead. Investments lie at the heart of the action, cooperation, and collaboration we need and span beyond purely national jurisdictions and our Blue Continent. Without the requisite financial support, it will be very difficult to move ahead with what must be done in the timeframe we give ourselves,” he said. 

But what does Transformative Climate Finance investment look like? What does it mean? 

These are the questions Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku posed during his address.

“We must discuss this within the context of the current climate finance deficit. If we do not do so in an open and result oriented way, climate finance investment and programming will remain piecemeal and reactive,” he said.

Many regional approaches to climate finance have been created, Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku added. 

During the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in the Cook Islands last year, Pacific leaders reaffirmed their support for the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF), recognising it as a Pacific-led, member-owned and managed community resilience financing facility. The PRF is to provide more accessible direct assistance to Pacific SIDS in their endeavours to combat climate change impacts. 

At the same meeting, Pacific leaders also endorsed the Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity (PPfP), which aims to quickly allocate resources and empower people to drive transformative change through development at both national and regional levels. 

At the national level, Tonga established the National Climate Change Trust Fund to provide ease of accessibility to climate change related projects that directly benefit communities.
“These are some of the innovative approaches recognising the urgency of the situation. These are tangible pathways to secure financial resources for transformative climate action in the Blue Pacific,” said Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku.

“Today, it is our important task and responsibility to turn words into meaningful action, into deeds. The future of the peoples of our Blue Pacific and those beyond hangs in the balance. We must seize this moment and move toward a more resilient and prosperous region. Mere dialogue no longer suffices.

“I call upon all stakeholders to urgently step up their commitments. Developed nations must fulfil their pledges under the Paris Agreement and increase their contributions to the Green Climate Fund and regional initiatives.

“Private investors must prioritise sustainable projects in our region. And all of us, governments, institutions, and individuals, must hold each other accountable for achieving the ambitious goals outlined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific. Let this conference be a turning point. Let us move from rhetoric to results and secure a future where our Blue Pacific and our peoples thrive for generations to come.”

The fourth Pacific Ocean Pacific Climate Change Conference (4POPCCC) from 20-24 May 2024 is held in Apia, Samoa. 

It is organised by the National University of Samoa (NUS) in partnership with the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC) hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The theme of the conference is “Our Ocean, Our Home: Climate Resilience for a Blue Pacific.”  

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