31 May, 2023, 8:00 pm
Pacific adaptation to climate change and resilience building
In a ground-breaking initiative aimed at fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange, representatives from several Pacific Island nations embarked on the first Pacific Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Learning Programme for the private sector in climate finance and resilience.
This program, organised in collaboration by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC), Connecting Business initiative (CBi) and other partners, seeks to enhance the participants’ understanding of sustainable and resilient operations and their ability to mitigate the impacts of climate change and prepare for disasters.
Exploring climate finance and resilience
The P2P Learning Programme provided an invaluable opportunity for close to 20 representatives from the Pacific region to visit various businesses in Fiji.
The delegates from Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu had the privilege of touring notable institutions such as the Fiji Meteorological Services, Sofitel Fiji Resort, Fiji Airways, Water Authority of Fiji, Punjas & Sons Ltd, Rooster Poultry, BBC Bhuja, and Fiji Water Foundation, in the past two days.
During these visits, they gained insights into the operations and strategies employed by these organisations to combat climate change and enhance resilience.
The team is scheduled to visit Fiji Gas, Value City, Energy Fiji Ltd, the Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation Office, Mark 1 Apparel, Coca Cola Amatil, Digicel Fiji, and the National Disaster Management Office in the next two days.
Sharing best practices
The participating businesses in Fiji were able to showcase their initiatives, highlighting their efforts towards sustainable practices and climate resilience.
By sharing their experiences and knowledge, they provided a tangible context for the participants to relate to and learn from, given the shared Pacific setting.
The open dialogue allowed for a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by businesses in the region and the strategies employed to address them.
Partnerships and funding
The success of the P2P Learning Programme is attributed to the collaborative efforts of various organizations.
The European Unionfunded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) provided crucial funding support.
Additionally, the FCEF, PIFS, FBDRC, Pacific Resilience Partnership and Connecting Business initiative (CBi) played pivotal roles in supporting the program.
Building a resilient private sector The ultimate goal of the regional PACRES support towards the private sector is to strengthen engagement and dialogue at both national and regional levels.
The program aims to foster a better understanding of the role and contribution of the private sector in climate change mitigation and disaster resilience.
By adopting a peer-to-peer learning approach, participants are exposed to practical skills and knowledge, thereby facilitating the adoption of climate solutions and investments in their respective countries.
Commons challenges affecting private sector engagement and accessing climate finance today
Some common barriers to effectively engage the private sector in the discussion and accessing climate finance include:
• Lack of appropriate incentives and an enabling environment to boost private sector climate proofing investments;
• Lack of information on national initiatives and interaction by government with the private sector such as country programs, pipeline projects, planning and implementation;
• Limited understanding by the private sector of their role and how to maximise this role to access climate change resources;
• Burdensome requirements and fiduciary standards applied by funding agencies regardless of size, capacity or need;
• Limited understanding by the private sector on the available funding sources and how to access them for climate change projects; and
• Limited capacity and ability to prepare bankable projects that contribute to mitigating the impacts of climate change and building resilience to business operations.
Enhancing climate finance and resilience
The P2P Learning Programme has set the stage for ongoing collaboration and knowledge-sharing among Pacific Island nations.
The valuable insights gained from the visits to businesses in Fiji will contribute to the participants’ ability to drive sustainable practices and climate-resilient operations in their own countries.
By fostering dialogue and partnerships, this program offers a practical and effective approach to addressing climate change challenges specific to the Pacific region.
The first Pacific Peer-to-Peer Learning Programme for the private sector in climate finance and resilience represents a significant step towards strengthening the capacity of businesses in Pacific Island nations.
This collaborative effort, supported by organizations such as the FCEF, PIFS, FBDRC, and PACRES, reinforces the commitment of Pacific nations to combat climate change and build a more resilient future.
• Anishma Prasad is the communications officer for FCEF. Views expressed in this article are her own and FCEF’s and not of this newspaper.