By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Island nations nudge G7 on unfulfilled $500 billion climate change pledge
Pacific island governments outline key priorities to address climate crisis ahead of UN conference
The Pacific island nations have again reminded the world's rich countries of their yet-to-be-fulfilled promise to mobilize $500 billion a year to finance the climate change adaptation programs to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Under the 2020-2024 plan, G7 nations have agreed to deliver $100 billion a year to assist island nations that are on the frontlines of climate change by correcting "the large-scale imbalance and gap of funding for adaptation and resilience."
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) noted that recent figures from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) indicated that the amount raised so far was way off target. The total amount provided and mobilized in 2018, 2017 and 2016 was $78.9 billion, $71.2 billion and $58.2 billion, respectively.
"We are concerned that developed countries have yet to meet their climate finance goal and call to those parties to scale up climate finance both for adaptation and mitigation and enhance the quality and composition of it," states the communique adopted by CVF during the Pacific Regional Dialogue held virtually from Sept. 1 to 3.
The communique was endorsed by Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu
during the high-level ministerial segment of the three-day forum.
The G7-pledge, which would be in addition to ODA'scommitments, is aimed at strengthening funding to the Adaptation Fund, Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund.
"Improved transparency on how much is being provided and reaching developing countries, as well as better predictability, accessibility and adequacy of finance provided is also vital," reads the CVF's regional communique.
"In particular, pledged mitigation and adaptation funds must reach all developing countries and vulnerability criteria for resource allocation, moving beyond GDP per capita criteria, should be included in the formal decision making within the GEF, GCF and regional and international multilateral development banks."
Besides the call for the $100-billion delivery plan, the regional communique also includes 15 other recommendations to address the region's most urgent climate change policy priorities, such as the elimination of coal plants.
"We strongly support the call of the United Nations secretary-general for an end to the international financing of coal plants and for a shift in finance and investment to renewable energy projects," the communique states.
"Further development of coal as the most polluting conventional energy source is totally inconsistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals and could render 1.5ºC impossible."
The Pacific island nations urged donors and multilateral and regional financing institutions "to abandon financing any further coal power development."
The dialogue was the third in a series of regional to global conversations that aim to build momentum ahead of the crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The event was co-hosted by Bangladesh, in its role as CVF chair, and the Marshall Islands, and organized in cooperation with the Global Center on Adaptation.
“The urgency for action has never been greater following the stark findings of the first working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report of August 2021, indicating that global heating was occurring faster than the IPCC concluded in 2018, with devastating consequences for people everywhere but especially those most vulnerable,” the communique states.
“The world must act. In particular, we need to see action on the climate emergency at COP26 with a clear pact for ambition and finance delivery in global solidarity.”
The eight CVF member-nations are at the frontline of climate change impacts, with sea-level rise, droughts, flooding, saltwater intrusion, cyclones and ocean acidification causing significant difficulties to the livelihoods of their peoples.
“The regional dialogue creates a space for climate-vulnerable countries to deliberate on regional policy concerns outside of the formal United Nations negotiation channels, as well as for other stakeholders to participate in these discussions,” said Selamawit Desta Wubet, the CVF program coordinator.
The findings from all the CVF regional dialogues in the Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and Africa and Middle East, and Asia will be reviewed at the CVF Senior Officials meeting hosted by Bangladesh in October, where the regions will finalize a “Dhaka-Glasgow Declaration” of the CVF that is expected to be adopted at the CVF high-level meeting at COP26.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, the Marshall Islands' climate envoy and CVF thematic ambassador for culture said 1.5 degrees is a priority in the forum's communique.
"It is a personal priority for us in the Marshalls as well," Jetnil-Kijiner said. "Our mandate as islanders is to keep 1.5 at the forefront of our discussions - as a marker and an aim that ensures our safety, as well as the safety of all frontline communities around the world.”
Mahendra Reddy, Fiji’s minister for agriculture, waterways and environment, said: “As we head to COP26, we must work to ensure that our strong and effective collaboration on our climate threatened nation cannot be forged and serve to promote more robust, equitable and responsible action by the international community as well as enhance finance technology support for our national efforts to overcome our climate change-related challenges.
Bruno Leingkone, Vanuatu’s minister of climate change and adaptation
"Extreme climate change challenges and impacts intensify national status of vulnerabilities which triggers the need for resources to be made available for vulnerable countries like Vanuatu to effectively implement national climate change priorities and reduce risks," Leingkone said.