Partnership Days Report from High-Level Climate Champion

It is my pleasure to report back to you the highlights from the first Partnership Day. The second day is being held as I speak.

First, the Climate Action Pacific Partnership. This is a coalition of various stakeholders, including Parties and non-Parties, from all the thematic and cross-cutting areas. This Partnership was established in July 2017 and is organized under the umbrella of the Marrakech Partnership to provide a platform to exchange ideas and discuss solutions to increase climate action.

The United Nations Deputy-Secretary General, in her statement recognized the Pacific Partnership as a new catalyst for the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action.

On the Sustainable Development Goals, views were expressed in the several sessions on the need to link climate action with the SDGs. The Mayor of Penang Island in sharing her experiences, highlighted the need to transfer and localize the implementation of SDGs in cities, which could result in enhanced resilience and effective responses to climate change.

Creative and innovative ideas integrated into business practice were also presented as a vehicle to advance the climate change agenda. An example of this is the Fiji Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy, which uses service taxes towards adaptation projects.

On the Nationally Determined Contributions, the formal announcement on the establishment of the Regional Pacific NDC Hub will be made at COP 23. This initiative will be funded by the kind support of Germany. Australia has also expressed interest to contribute to this initiative and I encourage others to do the same. I thank Germany and Australia for their early support.

There were also exchanges of information on experiences and challenges relating to the development, enhancement and implementation of NDCs.

For example, Palau’s inclusion of renewable energy in its NDCs is expected to accelerate the provision of clean energy, which will be key to transforming their tourism sector.

The importance of donors coming together to leverage finance for supporting developing countries to achieve their NDCs and the linkage to the SDGs and national development agenda was also emphasized. Highlights on financial support to and through private sector was reported as key to ensure the effective implementation of NDCs.

I was pleased to hear that after the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Conference in July 2017, selected partners from the areas of health, oceans, energy, forests, climate justice and gender have progressed significantly on the recommendations from the conference.

An example of this is an initiative on solar energy funded by the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation and the development of a regional REDD+ proposal.

On climate finance, Fiji, the Green Climate Fund and the Asian Development Bank yesterday signed agreements to fund the Fiji Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Investment Program.

The GCF is to provide a 31 million US dollar grant and ADB is to lend 42 million US dollars for the first phase of the program. This is the first GCF finance for Fiji.

Fiji also confirmed that it is in the process of issuing its first green bond with further details to be announced later this week. It is hoped that it could be a precedent for a similar bond for the Pacific countries.

Stakeholders recommended the need for innovative financing instruments that address not only disaster but also long-term resilience. For example, the ADB Disaster Focal Contingency Finance provides finance after the disaster and ensures long-term plans for construction and resilience solution. Another innovative example is the use of national development banks and country funds, as bottom-up sources of finance. There is also a need for innovative solutions and bankable projects to attract private sector finance.

Some observer constituency groups and inter-governmental organisations highlighted the need to increase the level of ambition of current and new NDCs. Some emphasis was put on the need for accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels towards a production system based on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

They also highlighted the need to address the environmental, economic and social aspects of climate change and emissions reductions simultaneously. Some constituencies emphasized the importance of Oceans and fisheries in regards to climate change. These statements from the constituencies and observer organizations are in line with the intentions of the global climate action agenda.

Finally, the relationship between oceans and climate is a significant priority for the incoming Presidency, given Fiji is a vulnerable island and ocean State. Yesterday, with a view to seeking support, Fiji had a soft launch of the Oceans Pathway Partnership that will be formally launched at COP 23.

It is envisaged that this initiative will result in the inclusion of an agenda item on oceans and climate under the UNFCCC process in 2019 and the eventual establishment of a work programme.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, the Partnership Day provided an opportunity to share views and amplified the need for continued engagement with all stakeholders at COP23 and beyond.

I would like to echo the sentiments of the Deputy-Secretary General, on the need for a grand coalition. We need the support of all stakeholders, Parties and non-Parties, cities, sub-nationals, businesses and investors for immediate climate action.

We have to be united for climate action: further, faster – together!

Vinaka Vakalevu!