Outer Islands Private Sector Forum on the GREEN CLIMATE FUND Continues in Ha’apai Friday, 1st of July 2022

Continuing the momentum of ‘Outer Islands – Private Sector Forum on the Green Climate Fund’, the Department of Climate Change of the Ministry of MEIDECC – Tonga’s National Designated Authority (NDA) supporting office to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – through ongoing partnership with the Tonga Chamber of Commerce & Industry (TCCI) held a second session at Pangai, Ha’apai. The aim: to sensitize micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to accessing climate financing for resilience building. The discussions were facilitated by the GCF-supported Private Sector Readiness Programme Management Unit (PMU) in close coordination with the NDA Readiness Unit.

TCCI President Mr. Sam Vea, welcomed Ha’apai’s business owners, both formal and informal, across various sectors including energy, livestock, tourism, transportation as well as the media, to work together to identify and prioritize solutions to the problems their enterprises face due to climate change.

Ms. Malini Teulilo, Project Development Officer, elaborated on the GCF’s MSME Pilot Programme with the objective to promote a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development where about a USD 100 million contribution is allocated to least developed countries and small island developing states of the Pacific. Ms. Teulilo highlighted that the program recognises the diversity of MSME conditions in various regions, countries, and sectors and that is why it is important that project ideas are first and foremost ‘country-driven’ especially for Ha’apai, being somewhat similar to other outer island groups.

NDA National Coordinator Ms. Elizabeth ‘Akau’ola presented on the Country Programming process of accessing funds from the GCF, as well as the current and expected interventions to improve food security within the fisheries and agriculture sectors and enhance community resilience by leveraging climate change funding at the subnational level. Ms. ‘Akau’ola emphasized that in the process of coming up with project ideas, it is very important to identify and make the link between climate change and the impacts, to eliminate the common mistake of identifying natural hazards as also caused by human-induced climate variability.

Ms. Frances Satini, Climate Change Policy Officer, also explained the NDA’s ‘No Objection Procedure,’ a national process for the proper channelling of project ideas through the right authorities, including engaging the accredited entities to assist with the development of quality concept notes and proposals to be submitted to the GCF. She stretched the importance for every project proponent to attain a ‘No Objection Letter’ from the NDA focal point, CEO for MEIDECC Mr. Paula Ma’u, to assist the project in the submission and to make sure the project is aligned with national climate change strategies and plans that will promote country ownership.

Finally, a great deal of discussions with a Q&A session to wrap up the meeting! Business owners have had to contend with the unfavorable effects of climate change on their own for many years and concerns were brought forward in hopes to contribute to the mitigation of GHG emissions and help them adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

Ideas were suggested such as fully switching the electricity supply to solar power, using electric scooters rather than driving fueled cars, turning manure waste into renewable energy, and the main adaptation issue of course is protecting their coast lines from being eroded by sea-level rise.

Business Owners Mr. Finau Uata and Mr. Latiume Kaufusi

Media Officer Mr. Moimoi Fakahua