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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Fiji Presses for Green Climate Fund

COP17GCF

30th November 2011, Durban South Africa: This afternoon Fiji together with other nations of the world called on the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol that has been meeting in Durban, South Africa from 28th November to 9th December 2011 to quickly operationalize the Green Climate Fund (GCF)1.

GCF Transitional Committee (TC) Co-Chair Trevor Manuel (South Africa) presented the Committee’s report, which includes the GCF’s draft governing instrument to COP17 today. He explained that the report aims to present a middle ground as the basis for launching the GCF in Durban.

In her address the Alternative Head of Fiji’s Delegation and Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Mrs. Taina Tagicakibau told COP that the, “operationalization and capitalization of the Green Climate Fund is paramount given the urgency and seriousness of Climate Change impacts we already face.Whilst we support the report generally there are concerns to be mindful of; but that should not be impediment nor distract from realization of the Green Climate Fund and a positive outcome here in Durban!”

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In an earlier statement that was formulated after consultations with Fiji and other Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) members, the organisation told COP that,“AOSIS has identified the early operationalization of the GCF with an initial capitalization, as an essential element of a balanced, comprehensive and ambitious outcome at Durban. We continue to believe that this is achievable.   Given the urgency and seriousness of the climate change challenge, the operationalization of the GCF cannot be delayed. Small Island Development States (SIDS) urgently require significantly enhanced financial and technical support to address the ever worsening impacts of climate change.  Therefore we will not support any effort to undermine the operationalization of this Fund in Durban.”

“We are not satisfied with some aspects of the draft governing instrument of the Fund. To cite only four examples, first, we had advocated for a more ambitious reflection of the objectives, scope and guiding principles of the Fund, including to capture the transformational nature of the fund. Second, we had hoped that the Fund would have established dedicated funding windows for SIDS and Least Developed Countries; third, we had proposed that the relationship between the Fund and the COP would be much stronger. Fourth, there are no provisions for a replenishment process, as the AOSIS representatives on the TC suggested.”

“Despite these and other concerns over the instrument, we are prepared to adopt it since, in our view, it represents a balanced package reflecting the diversity of interests and perspectives in the TC and the COP.

AOSIS would support an open, inclusive and transparent process under the guidance of the Presidency of the COP to undertake the work required to draft a covering COP decision to address the recommendations by the TC to COP-17 (Part III of the TC’s Report), as well as the transitional arrangements required to ensure the rapid operationalization of the Fund.

To ensure its credibility the GCF should not be operationalized in Durban as an empty shell. For its actual operationalization, the GCF would need both start-up, operational budget money and more significant pledges by developed country Parties towards its initial capitalization. We hope that developed countries will announce ambitious pledges and contributions to the GCF at Durban, until such time as a formal replenishment is established for the GCF.”

Joining Fiji the chief climate negotiator for the EU and Poland Tomasz Chruszczow told COP, “in the context of a satisfactory outcome on the green climate fund as well as the overall package from Durban, we want to see the board start as early as 2012." He said the EU welcomed the report compiled by the transitional committee, saying that it was "inevitably a compromise". There are probably points that we and others would have preferred to see handled differently. However we believe that it should be possible to agree the draft as it stands. It would be counter-productive to undertake further technical discussions on the instrument", he said.

The AFRICAN GROUP welcomed the report. Zambia, for LDCs, said the draft governing instrument provides sufficient basis for a financial institutional arrangement. The Philippines, for the G-77/CHINA, said the GCF is a crucial element of the solution. Chinese lead negotiator Su Wei speaking to the media said that establishing the fund “is a benchmark for the success of the Durban conference.”

The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Venezuela however raised concerns about the structure of the United Nations mechanism that would channel up to $100 billion a year in aid to developing nations. EGYPT said the draft governing instrument lacks crucial elements, including international legal personality, accountability to the COP and country ownership of projects.

Acknowledging concerns with the draft governing instrument, JAPAN and COLOMBIA (on behalf of Costa Rica, Chile, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Peru and Panama), opposed reopening the document and requested the COP Presidency to conduct consultations. AUSTRALIA expressed willingness to approve the document “as is.”

The COP Presidency Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the South African foreign minister overseeing the annual round of climate talks, said she’d undertake “informal” consultations about how to overcome the objections to technical details about how the fund will work.

In other developments other members of the Fiji Delegation actively engaged COP in separate discussions on other agenda items such as how best to link research and technology development with adaptation actions; finalizing the legal framework on opportunities for markets to enhance cost effectiveness and promote mitigation actions etc.

The Fiji Delegation to COP17 is led by the Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment, Mrs. Taina Tagicakibau and includes the Acting Deputy Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Mr. Penijamini Lomaloma, Director Environment Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, Director Meteorology Mr. Alipate Waqaicelua, Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN Mr. Luke Daunivalu, Deputy Conservator of Forests Mr. Samuela Lagataki, Dr Helena des Combes of USP, Lami Town Council CEO Ms. Preeya Ieli, Ms. Alisi Pulini Climate Change Officer Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, including Fiji’s High Commissioner to South Africa Mr. Ben Salacakau.  The Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua will be joining the Delegation later when the Higher Level Sessions begin the following week.

(Photo caption 1:Co-Chair Manuel (3rd from left) presenting his Report;caption 2: PS Tagicakibau)


1Countries agreed at UN talks in Cancun last year to work on setting up a green climate fund this year in Durban. It’s part of a broader agreement aimed at fighting climate change. A 40- member committee spent seven months drafting rules for the fund’s structure and governance. The Committee presented its report to COP17. The fund is intended to channel an unspecified portion of climate aid developed nations have pledged to ramp up to $100 billion by 2020.