From the start of its Presidency of COP23, Fiji has been engaged in pursuing outcomes that will assist Fiji and the Pacific in dealing with climate change. In addition, Fiji, in its role as President of the COP23 negotiations, guided progress on certain key aspects of the negotiations and oversaw the launch of a number of new initiatives. Details of these are as follows:
2018 Talanoa Dialogue: After extensive consultations, the Fijian COP23 Presidency announced an inclusive and participatory process that allows countries, as well as non-state actors, to share stories and showcase best practices in order to urgently raise ambition – including pre-2020 action – in nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This is ultimately to enable countries to collectively move closer to the more ambitious Paris Agreement goal of keeping the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Implementation Guidelines: While important work remains to be done, COP23 made significant progress toward clear and comprehensive implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, which will make the agreement operational. These guidelines will help governments plan their economies, and give confidence to investors and businesses that the low-carbon economy is here to stay. Countries will need to finalise the implementation guidelines at COP24 in Poland next year.
Finalisation of the Gender Action Plan: Countries finalised the first-ever Gender Action Plan, which aims to increase the participation of women in all UNFCCC processes. It also seeks to increase awareness of and support for the development and effective implementation of gender-responsive climate policy at all levels of government.
Historic Breakthrough in Agriculture: Countries reached a historic agreement on agriculture that will help countries develop and implement new strategies for adaptation and mitigation within the sector, to both reduce emissions as well as build resilience to the effects of climate change. This was the first time in the history of the climate negotiations that countries have reached an agreement on agriculture.
Finalisation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform: This platform will provide direct and comprehensive means to give a greater voice to indigenous people in the climate negotiations and allow them to share their traditional knowledge and best practices on reducing emissions, adapting to climate change and building resilience.
Adaptation Fund: The Adaptation Fund was replenished with a total of US $93.3 million, exceeding this year’s funding target by US $13 million. The Adaptation Fund has a track record of providing valuable resources to communities in developing countries for projects that help improve resilience to the effects of climate change. Projects may apply for funding to the Adaptation Fund Board, which reviews applications through a transparent process. Countries also took an important next step to ensure that the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement.
First Open Dialogue between Governments and Non-State Actors: The Fijian COP23 Presidency presided over the first ever Open Dialogue between governments and non-state actors (including civil society, local and regional governments and businesses) within the formal climate negotiations. Discussions were held surrounding two important topics. The first was how non-state actors can help countries design and implement more ambitious NDCs and the second was how to better integrate non-state actors into the climate negotiations process. Based on the success of the Dialogue, there was strong enthusiasm to continue similar discussions at future COP meetings.
“Suva” Expert Dialogue on Loss and Damage: Countries adopted a decision that will strengthen the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage through the endorsement of the rolling five-year work plan of the executive committee (ExCom) and reaffirmation of the ExCom’s ability to enhance its effectiveness. Importantly, countries also agreed to request the chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) – one of two permanent subsidiary bodies to the UNFCCC – to organise an expert dialogue on loss and damage at the SBI session in April/May 2018. This dialogue will provide an important space to raise awareness about the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States and will explore options for mobilising expertise, technology and support for the victims of climate change.
Launch of the Fiji Clearing House for Risk Transfer: This new online resource will help connect vulnerable countries with the best available information on affordable insurance and solutions – tailored to their unique circumstances – that will allow them to better prepare for the risks posed by climate change.
Launch of the Ocean Pathway Partnership: The Fijian COP23 Presidency launched the Ocean Pathway Partnership to encourage the climate negotiations process to address the relationship between climate change and the ocean. In the true spirit of the Grand Coalition, the partnership will consolidate existing work being done to create a coordinated effort among governments at all levels, existing ocean alliances and coalitions, civil society and the private sector. The partnership will be co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden, who are joining forces again after leading the inaugural UN Ocean Conference in June 2017.
Launch of InsuResilience Global Partnership: The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) contributed 110 million euros (US $125 million) to launch the InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Solutions, which aims to bring affordable insurance and other financial protection to millions of vulnerable people around the world. The contribution from BMZ follows a £30 million (US $39 million) commitment that was made by the Government of the United Kingdom in July.
Bonn-Fiji Commitment: Local and regional leaders gathered to officially adopt the Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders to Deliver the Paris Agreement at All Levels, a pledge that signals their commitment to bring forward a critical shift in global development. The Bonn-Fiji Commitment highlights the pledge to raise collective ambition for climate action.
Health Initiative for the Vulnerable: The World Health Organisation, in collaboration with the UNFCCC and the Fijian COP23 Presidency, launched a special initiative to protect people living in Small Island Developing States from the health impacts of climate change. Its goal by 2030 is to triple the level of international financial support to climate and health in Small Island Developing States.
America’s Pledge: A delegation of sub-national leaders led by Governor Jerry Brown of California and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented a report on the ongoing efforts by American states, cities, businesses and civil society to uphold the emissions reduction target of the United States under the Paris Agreement.
Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP): Fiji held the Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) Conference on 3 – 4 July 2017 in Suva for accelerating climate action in the Pacific. Many of the ideas from this conference were fed into the Global Climate Action Agenda, which is the official UNFCCC process to boost cooperative action between governments, cities, business, investors and citizens to cut emissions rapidly and help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build their own clean energy, sustainable futures. A second CAPP event will be held in 2018.
Launch of the NDC Regional Hub: The NDC Partnership is establishing a new regional hub to support the implementation of NDCs in the Pacific. The Regional Pacific NDC Hub will be based in Suva, Fiji, and will provide expertise for developing regional solutions to mitigate global warming and enhance efforts by Pacific islands to adapt to climate change. The initial donors are Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Blue Carbon for the Pacific: Working with Fiji and other Pacific countries, Australia will support efforts to protect and manage coastal blue carbon ecosystems in the Pacific. These ecosystems – mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses – sequester more carbon per square metre than almost any other ecosystem and play an important role as fisheries’ breeding grounds and natural buffers against coastal erosion from rising seas. AU $6 million will be provided to strengthen blue carbon data, knowledge and capacity in the Pacific; support its integration into national greenhouse gas accounting and climate policy; and seek to catalyse public and private sector investment.
Pacific Climate Finance and Insurance Incubator (the “Drua Incubator”): The Fijian Government launched an important new initiative to develop finance and insurance products that are tailor-made to the needs and circumstances of vulnerable and low-income households in Fiji and other Pacific island countries. The Pacific Climate Finance and Insurance Incubator – known as the Drua Incubator – will bring together leaders in finance, investment and insurance to develop and “incubate” transformational and scalable financial and insurance products that meet the specific requirements of Pacific Small Island Development States. Together with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Government of Luxembourg will provide initial funding of 1 million euros for the initiative.
Rural Electrification Fund: Fiji is establishing the “Rural Electrification Fund” program working with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Sunergise, the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) network, and the Fiji Electricity Authority. The fund will provide the capital costs associated with bringing clean, renewable energy to off-grid rural communities in Fiji. By recycling the electricity fees paid by communities for renewable energy back into the construction of clean energy systems for additional communities, it is intended that this new vehicle structure can be self-sustaining and could be replicated across the Pacific and other vulnerable nations.
Domestic Initiatives in Fiji
Fiji Water and Wastewater Project: Fiji has signed the financing arrangements for a project designed to improve access to sustainable water supply and sewerage services for approximately 270,000 Fijians in the greater Suva area. The US $405 million project will take into account the increasing population and the need for more climate-resilient infrastructure. The project is funded through loans from the ADB (US $153.2 million) and EIB (US $70.8 million), a grant by the Green Climate Fund (US $31 million) and Government funding (US $150.1 million).
Low Income Household Insurance: As outlined in the national budget, Fiji has been working on the development of an insurance product that provides tropical cyclone insurance coverage for low-income households. This will be achieved through the implementation of a catastrophe risk insurance program featuring two products to provide tropical cyclone coverage: (i) Property insurance for houses of low build quality that are still deemed insurable after some basic reinforcement, such as roof strapping. The risk will be underwritten by domestic insurance companies. (ii) Livelihoods protection insurance for low-income households whose houses are deemed uninsurable. Fiji is receiving support for this from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
Sovereign Green Bond: Fiji became the first emerging market – and third in the world – to issue a sovereign green bond to support climate change mitigation and adaptation. Green bonds are fixed income, liquid financial instruments that are used to raise funds for climate-mitigation, adaptation, and other environment-friendly projects. This provides investors an attractive investment proposition as well as an opportunity to support environmentally sound projects. The first tranche floated FJ $40 million; however, the week-long tender saw an oversubscription that ballooned to more than double that amount, with tenders received for FJ $87.71 million.
Legal Readiness for Climate Finance and Climate Change Act: Fiji is undertaking a review of its legal readiness to implement its NDC, based on work supported by the Asian Development Bank. In addition, Fiji is looking to what other legal reforms can be undertaken to further support climate action such as the development of a national Climate Change Act.
GCF Accreditation of the Fiji Development Bank: The Green Climate Fund (GCF) accredited the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) as the first development bank in the Pacific region to be a “national direct access entity.” The accreditation type is “micro”, which allows FDB to apply for funds up to and including US $10 million for an individual project or an activity within a programme. This accreditation is a milestone for Fiji, as it means that Fijian projects now have direct access to GCF funds at the national level, with the FDB as the implementing agency. This means access to global public finance for climate action in Fiji.
Launch of the Fijian NDC Implementation Roadmap: Given that Fiji’s NDC is mostly based on the energy sector, the NDC Roadmap focuses on three energy subsectors, namely: electricity generation, transmission and distribution; demand side energy efficiency; and energy efficiency in land and maritime transportation. The Roadmap, which has been led by the Ministry of Economy and the Global Green Growth Institute, highlights the short, medium and long term renewable initiatives required in these energy subsectors to support Fiji’s commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy and reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030.
Launch of the Fijian National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Framework: Launched at COP23, the Fijian Government is approaching its NAP as a continuous, progressive, and iterative process to ensure a systematic and strategic approach to adaptation in all government decision making. This approach aims to facilitate institutional coordination, stakeholder engagement, resource mobilisation, and – ultimately – effective adaptation actions.
Launch of the new Ministry of Waterways: Fiji is exploring opportunities to develop a project to manage and protect its numerous waterways, which are an important source of livelihoods, basic resources and transport. A new Ministry of Waterways has been established to address the growing threat that flooding poses to Fijian communities, a threat that is projected to worsen due to the effects of climate change. The Ministry is responsible for the maintenance of drainage systems and management of waterways in Fiji, including creeks, tributaries and rivers. In its work to improve storm-water management, mitigate flooding and improve irrigation, the Ministry will incorporate aspects of hydrological forecasting, drainage surveillance and realignment, waterway dredging and river-embankment management. It will work with the GCF and others financiers to address its waterways challenges.
Launch of Fiji’s Climate Vulnerability Assessment: In 2017, the Fijian Government requested the World Bank to carry out a Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) of Fiji. The CVA launched at COP23 shows the vulnerabilities faced by Fiji, as well as possible solutions to tackle climate change and boost resilience. The objective of the CVA is to identify Fiji’s key vulnerabilities to natural hazards and climate change and prioritise measures to strengthen resilience.