The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting later this year in Rarotonga is expected to adopt and approve the redesigned Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) after it was endorsed by the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in Suva this week.
Forum Chair and Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown, told journalists, this initiative has been regionally led and developed and is an instrument by the Pacific and for the Pacific.
“One of these highlights I’d say is the Pacific Resilience Facility. This is a facility that was proposed more than six years ago and as a means for attracting funds to the Pacific,” said PM Brown.
Brown pointed out gaps in existing disaster risk facilities for the Pacific, which he said are only triggered after catastrophic events, with a need from Pacific nations to have access to small scale, smaller funds for projects to help communities prepare and plan ahead of disasters. These are not widely supported or financed.
“Pacific countries have for a number of years voiced their concerns at the difficulty in accessing climate financing. What we have done over the last few years and in particular last 18 months is redesign this proposal for a Pacific Resilience Facility that will target development partners to put their funds into and be used for Pacific adaptation measures specifically for Pacific countries.
“And we see this as one way to enable funds to be freed up quickly to our members in the Pacific countries to address climate funding and resilience building initiatives, which in many cases can be quite small scale and thereby make it difficult to fund.”
The design of the Pacific Resilience Facility was influenced by two compelling issues– the need to address extreme vulnerability of Pacific peoples caught in the climate emergency, and the burden of debt distress faced by Forum Islands members.
These key concerns have shaped the prospectus for the facility, its structure and leadership, and the way it will respond to Pacific nations searching for easier ways to access and fund adaptation and advance preparedness against disasters caused by climate change.
The new facility will not take away from the multi million-dollar global climate financing mechanisms of the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, as it will deal with much smaller amounts “focussing very much on individual countries and the kinds of projects that just slip through the cracks- usually with people who live in very vulnerable situations.”
Experts say five percent of global finance resources are dedicated to adaptation and resilience.
PACNEWS understands the governance frameworks and management of the fund would be key.
Brown said the Ministers also met with with the Pacific Investment Fund.
“And this is a group of sovereign wealth funds provident funds trusts, with a combined $90 billion with members’ funds, looking at opportunities with investing in Pacific Island countries. These particular funds would need to be effective for their members to attract a return.
So they wouldn’t be specific types of investment that would suit this particular investment. Particularly those that do have a revenue stream attached to them. The presentation was well received by ministers and we support the investment fund co investment platform to identify commercially viable infrastructure projects for investment by sovereign wealth in super funds in seven countries”.
The Forum Chair said Ministers also discussed the implication of labour mobility for member countries working in Australia and New Zealand.
“One of the important topics of discussion was the economic implications of labor mobility. Labour mobility has provided an avenue for many people in our countries an opportunity to work in Australia or New Zealand, bringing remittances.
“We also acknowledge the flipside of the labour mobility scheme. Some of the issues and concerns that have been raised to ensure that workers are receiving fair working conditions, ensure issues around worker exploitation as well. But in general, the finance ministers have reaffirmed the importance of including comprehensive social and economic cross cutting assessments of the cost benefits and social impacts of the schemes in the development of the regional strategy,” said PM Brown.