The Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga, Siaosi Sovaleni, has hailed the decision for Samoa to host the largest Green Climate Fund Board meeting this week.
In Apia as a delegate, Mr. Sovaleni said it’s not just a win-win situation for Samoa, it is equally important for the Pacific region.
More than a hundred delegates from all around the world and the Pacific are in Apia this week for the meeting.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga said the meeting is a golden opportunity for the Pacific Island countries to present their cases.
“Climate change is the most pressing issue here in the Pacific Islands,” he told the Samoa Observer. “Having the G.C.F. meeting here in the Pacific and in Samoa is very important."
“Not only to highlight the challenges that we face in the Pacific, as the Board members are here to see first-hand the challenges we face on a daily basis, but it also an opportunity for the Pacific Island Countries to know more about the process about G.C.F."
“This is an opportunity for the leaders of the Pacific to discuss with the people that make the decisions on whether to provide some assistance or not."
“To me, it’s one of those unique opportunities for me to be here in Samoa especially for this meeting.”
Mr. Sovaleni said the meeting also serves as a platform where Pacific Island countries can learn how they can access some of the funds from G.C.F.
“We can access the funds and that’s the significance of this meeting. We are here to actually have that discussion with the Board members on how we can actually have better access to the funds to assist us with the projects that are needed to be done."
“You know things like what can we do to access to those funds. Having said that, this is also an opportunity to provide feedback into the Green Climate Fund so that maybe they can streamline their processes and take into account the fact that we as Pacific Islanders don’t have the capacity of manpower and so forth."
“And also take into account those challenges that we face in the Pacific. So that hopefully we can have better access and more opportunities to get assistances from the Green Climate Fund.”
For Tonga, Mr. Sovaleni said they only have a draft proposal and he will use this opportunity to discuss this draft proposal with the Board Members.
“We have a draft proposal we want to discuss with the Board members of G.C.F so we can get some feedbacks so that we can improve our proposal and hopefully next time the Board meets they will table our proposal and hopefully it will be good enough to get some assistance for us.”
Mr. Sovaleni reiterated the importance of Samoa hosting.
“I guess the message is, the world is recognizing climate change as a pressing concern especially for small islands like the Pacific island countries,” he said.
“So having the Board meeting here as I mentioned earlier is important so that they can actually understand where we are coming from in terms of sea level rising and so forth."
“So for the Pacific I think this is a very good opportunity for us to discuss the issues we face so that the Board can actually appreciate and understand the challenges that we face and at the same time, it’s an opportunity for our people to actually understand what is required from them in order to access some of these funds.”