Why finance alone will not address the climate change challenges in the Pacific
Pacific island countries (PICs) are amongst the most profoundly affected by climate change. Some of these climate related challenges are existential, manifest in natural disasters, encroaching seas, and loss of arable lands. PICs are also uniquely interlocked in the testing of solutions.
Much rests on the quality of the responses to these challenges. Climate finance is a prominent feature of the international and national climate response, and has generated considerable expectation that it could offer a powerful remedy for the escalating climate crisis. This anticipation, however, is dying a slow death in the region.
The first sign that climate finance was not to be the saviour foreshadowed was the incredible difficulty PICs experienced, and are still experiencing, accessing the Green Climate Fund – climate finance’s flagship. When conducting fieldwork in Fiji and speaking to actors who should be the ideal destination of such funding, I was met with profound disillusionment at the abject failure of climate finance to trickle down to the national, subnational and local level.
While limited access to climate finance is in itself a serious and complex issue, we must also face another difficult truth. Climate finance alone will not meet the climate related adaptive and development needs of the Pacific. We must acknowledge that finance, once ‘committed’, must traverse an extremely complex landscape of challenges before positive outcomes can be realised. And the success of this journey, from dollar to outcome, is determined by sophisticated governance and regulatory arrangements in many different sectors and at many levels.
Barriers to various aspects of climate finance (such as the ability to scale up renewable energy) are often presented as discrete elements that exist in isolation. The framework below was developed from extensive consultations during our work in Fiji, which in its first phase aimed to scope barriers …read more