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By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Paris
A first ever fund created specifically to support 16 Pacific Island Countries including Frances’s three Territories in the region, was spearheaded by the French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Macron initiated the fund after the One Climate Summit in Paris in 2017 and announced it in September last year.
The Pacific Initiative Fund, with €27 million (US$36.6 million) will assist the 16 nations including Frances Overseas Territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis & Futuna to finance actions to protect biodiversity and adaptation to climate change.
“The idea was spearheaded by France and right now we have received funding commitments from the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, said Bertrand Willocquet, the director of the Department of Three Oceans at the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) here in Paris.
“The objective is to start with a modest fund and pilot some projects through technical assistance, which we have now through SPREP and SPC.
“We’d like to be pragmatic as possible, with a reduced scale with the hope of scaling it up later, said Willocquet.
He said the fund’s governance structure has been put together with lessons learnt from other global climate financing initiatives.
“This is why we are working through regional organisations like SPC, SPREP and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to implement projects.
“We have representatives from member countries and observers from regional organisations who will oversee and approve funding projects.
Willocquet said the first round of projects will be finalised and announced when the French President will meet Pacific Leaders later in the year.
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