Participants of the Climate Finance Workshop for Community Adaptation.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) is hosting a two-week Climate Finance Workshop for Community Adaptation funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at the Lower Campus in Laucala.
In opening the workshop on 26 June, 2017, Her Excellency Judith Cefkin, US Ambassador to Fiji said Pacific Island countries are at the forefront of the increasing climate variabilities and disaster risks that we all face and are also on the frontlines advocating for sustainable development that effectively addresses these challenges.
Resilient development she said, requires that all sectors of the economy work together to adapt existing infrastructure and social systems.
“This is crucial for us to be ready to successfully manage the challenges ahead. The U.S. government is pleased to work with Pacific governments and the private sector to address your most pressing development needs.
“A key objective of both USAID Ready and USAID Adapt is to increase Pacific island countries’ access to international sources of financing, such as the Green Climate Fund,” she stated.
H.E Cefkin said this week’s training is designed to demystify the complex requirements of international climate funds to help put ideas into action.
“It will equip you with additional knowledge and skills to effectively manage funds once they become available,” she said.
“The launch of this course today represents the first of what is hoped to be many future partnerships among Ready, USP and other regional organisations. This week the training is focused on government officials. Next week a second training will benefit participants from the private sector,” she added.
H.E Cefkin hopes that through this partnership “we will enable people with the right skills to help meet our shared objectives. We are firm believers in harnessing the skills and resources of the private sector to further national and local adaptation work in collaboration with government”.
Professor Arvind Patel, Acting Dean of USP’s Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE), said the workshop was timely and despite the complexities, stressed the importance of integrating programme management and climate finance into a training.
“Instead of seeing 1000 students enrolled in an accounting course, I would like to see 1000 students enrolled in a Climate Finance class because that is what we need,” he stated.
Professor Patel further elaborated on the importance of including this in the University curriculum.
He commended PaCE-SD and the facilitators for the initiative saying the programme is practical and very well thought-out.
To address the current and future impacts of climate change, the international community has established several funds to support adaptation measures, in addition to existing capacity building, technical assistance, and financial support programmes.
Financiers such as the Green Climate Fund have prioritised the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and have already begun channeling financial resources to countries across the Pacific. However, despite the existence of these funds, there are still large capacity gaps in terms linking adaptation strategies to projects, as well as in rigorous project design.
The workshop aims to address some of the gaps and develop the skills of government and non-government stakeholders from Pacific Island countries so that they will be able to more effectively access external financial resources for adaptation projects.
Participants include USP students, representatives from government departments, such as conservation officers and other NGOs who are engaged in community adaptation and disaster risk resilience work.
The first 5-day workshop concludes this Friday while there is an intensive 2day workshop for practitioners next week, followed by a 3 day session via video-conferencing for regional participants.
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