Pacific Islands Write-Shop Empowers Leaders to Secure Climate Finance  

22 March 2024, Suva, Fiji - A Climate Finance Write-Shop held from 5 to 7 March in Suva, Fiji, empowered representatives from Pacific Island nations to secure vital climate finance for their communities. This collaborative effort, spearheaded by the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH), the Pacific Community (SPC), and UNOSAT, addressed a critical need for Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) facing the brunt of climate change.

Building Resilience Through Funding 

Limited fiscal resources pose a significant challenge for Pacific leaders striving to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. The Write-Shop addressed this challenge by providing participants with the knowledge and skills needed to craft winning proposals and navigate the funding bodies, ensuring proposals are tailored for success. It also empowered the participants to delve into diverse climate finance sources, both public and private, expanding participants’ access to potential funding streams.

A Collaborative Approach

A flagship project is underway, led by the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) titled "Strengthening Capacities in the Use of Geospatial Information for Improved Resilience in Asia-Pacific and Africa (2021-2024),". 

The project builds upon its past success in three of the commonwealth countries (Fiji, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu)  in the region through the "Commonsensing" project with its implementing partner the Commonwealth Secretariat This initiative aims to develop long-term expertise in using geospatial information for improved resilience. Working with well-integrated UNOSAT In-Country Experts, the project pledges to implement targeted geospatial solutions, tailored to the specific needs of all its 8 project countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Lao-PDR, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nigeria, and  Uganda.  

The Write-Shop training harnessed the expertise of multiple organizations. While the Commonwealth Secretariat shared knowledge on accessing climate finance, modalities, and the accreditation process. The Pacific Community (SPC) as a key accredited regional entity provided insights into regional perspectives and lessons learned from practical experience with previous country submissions. Furthermore, UNOSAT offered valuable expertise in Earth Observation (EO) data and its application in strengthening climate finance proposals.  

The Power of Earth Observation Data  

Last week's training shone a light on the invaluable role Earth Observation (EO) data plays in securing climate finance. Recognizing that major climate funds prioritize proposals with a strong justification for climate action. The training emphasized how the EO data can be harnessed to build a compelling case.  

Earth Observation serves as a global resource, supporting scientific inquiry and vividly demonstrating changes in water bodies, land cover, and land use, as well as regional weather patterns. This wealth of data collectively bolsters the climate rationale for proposals, ultimately unlocking much-needed finance for Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

Participants learned how the EO data provides compelling visuals and spatial analysis, strengthening the climate rationale within their proposals. The training further equipped them with practical skills in utilizing existing data sets for vulnerability assessments and project development from UNOSAT’s  data archives and backstopping support and SPC’s Digital Earth Pacific Platform  

This newfound ability allows them to target interventions effectively and demonstrate the project's impact across the region. Finally, the training explored how successful data-driven projects from other regions, leveraging EO data, can be adapted and replicated in their contexts. This fosters knowledge sharing and accelerates climate action across the Pacific. By equipping participants with these valuable skills and access to UNOSAT/UNITAR project outputs during the write-shop, the training empowered them to develop strong proposals that effectively leverage the EO data to secure climate finance.  

Outcomes and Impact 

The Write-Shop training received positive feedback from participants, who were empowered in the process of crafting compelling concept notes and proposals that align with funder requirements, utilizing EO data to enhance the evidence base for their proposals, and navigating the complexities of accessing climate finance.  

Leba Gaunavinaka, UNOSAT’s In-Country Expert in Fiji, highlighted the crucial importance of climate finance. She described it as the catalyst that empowers developing countries to implement emission reduction targets and adaptation activities.  

For Small Island Developing economies, there is only so much a government can finance within a fiscal year, and yet the national need to reduce vulnerabilities compounds. Hence, a lot of the targeted interventions and ambitions will need to be supported and complemented by development partners that can assist SIDs, explained UNOSAT’s in-country expert in Fiji.  

For example, in Fiji, we can have a list of more than 130 seawalls needed by communities continually ravaged by rising seas and coastal erosion, the focal ministry affords a budget allocation to construct at best 20 seawalls in any year, thus the ministry will look for donor support to have more on that list supported, as we have in the case of the 14 communities being supported through the Adaptation Fund, and 10 communities through UNDP Blue Bond programme, both projects were supported by CFAH proposal development and UNOSAT maps.  

Strengthening countries' ability to unlock this financing support enables the implementation of adaptation and mitigation targets and is crucial to leaders of developing economies to pilot, scale up, and complement in-house-funded activities.  

A Brighter Future for Pacific SIDS 

This successful Write-Shop paves the way for increased access to climate finance for Pacific SIDS. By empowering leaders to unlock these vital resources, the project contributes significantly to implementing adaptation and mitigation strategies. Increased funding allows for scaling up crucial interventions to address climate vulnerabilities – hence, enhanced financial support enables Pacific nations to better cope with the impacts of climate change and to achieve national climate targets under their NDCs and National Adaptation Plans.  

Achieving national climate targets: Access to climate finance fuels progress towards national emission reduction and adaptation goals.  

The Write-Shop serves as a model for future collaborations, demonstrating the collective power of knowledge sharing and targeted capacity building. By working together, the international community and regional entities empower Pacific SIDS to build more resilient futures in the face of climate change.  

UNOSAT is committed to supporting Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their efforts to access climate finance and build resilience to climate change. We believe that the Earth Observation (EO) data can play a critical role in strengthening the climate rationale for proposals and unlocking much-needed finance. We are proud to have partnered with the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH), the Pacific Community (SPC), and other organizations to deliver the Climate Finance Write-Shop. UNOSAT looks forward to continuing to work with the Pacific leaders in building a more resilient future.  

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