Submitted by leannem on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 04:07
December 6, 2019 by leannem
Climate Change Resilience

5 December 2019, Madrid, Spain – The advantages and challenges of working with the Green Climate Fund in the Pacific was highlighted at the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25). 

A special event was held on the sidelines of the negotiations at the Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility Pavilion for which Ms Tagaloa Cooper, Director of Climate Change Resilience of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) shared experiences on the relationship between SPREP, as a Direct Access Entity, and the GCF, and how this relationship  has benefitted the Secretariat’s 21 Pacific island Member countries.

“The biggest advantage of working with the GCF has been the development of a stronger working relationship . We have been fortunate to have a one-on-one relationship with the GCF. This has proven to be very helpful in situations where we find that the goalposts have shifted and the rules have changed, as we have been able to get direct answers from colleagues in the GCF.”
Ms. Cooper also shed light on the lessons learnt  in the implementation of SPREP’s flagship country GCF project, the Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP). 

The project, which was bestowed a Bislama name to ensure there is community understanding and ownership of the project and its activities, is funded by GCF with a total investment of USD 20.4 million over four years, using science to better prepare Vanuatu’s policy makers and public for a changing climate. 

It is managed by the Vanuatu Government, under the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD) in collaboration with SPREP. 

“When there is a delay when you must go back and renegotiate with the entity, as we had to do with the Vanuatu project, this incurs delays  to the project implementation and costs to SPREP.. As we are an intergovernmental organisation, we have to absorb such losses until funding is released,” said Ms. Cooper. 

“Another  challenge that we have faced is where projects are approved with conditions and these conditions have not been conveyed in the transition of teams or officers working with the project.  The team that was involved in the planning process left, and the new team that took on this project were not aware of these conditions, which caused further issues and delays with the project.”

“Another issue which is common in the Pacific, is that travel to outer islands is often expensive and time-consuming and is often not factored into the design of the projects.. The project in Vanuatu is spread amongst some of the outer islands and so there are challenges with sea and air schedules and delays. ,” Ms Cooper added. 

The Van-KIRAP is considered the Flagship project for SPREP, therefore, the  challenges that were faced and subsequently overcome with this project, have been lessons learnt, which the Secretariat has taken note of and will inform the design and implementation of subsequent projects. projects currently in the pipeline. 

The GCF is an operating entity of the UNFCCC financial mechanism, which was established in 2010 at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico. Its mission is to help developing countries take ambitious actions on climate change, and to promote a paradigm shift to low-emissions and climate-resilient development. 

The “Lessons Learnt from the GCF Project Implementation side event was held on Wednesday 4 December 2019. The other speakers were Ms. Adriana Dinu of the United Nations Development Programme and Ryan Alexander of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 

The UNFCCC COP25 is being held in Madrid, Spain, from 2 – 13 December 2019.