NZ boosts support for ‘grassroots’ climate action in Solomon Islands

NZ Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni
NZ Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni . . . "Climate change is a global challenge that requires global and collective action." Image: Susana Suisuiki/RNZ Pacific

By Susana Suisuiki, RNZ Pacific journalist

The New Zealand government has committed $15 million to support Solomon Islands provincial administrations to strengthen climate resilience at the grassroots level.

Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni, who is on a three-country Pacific tour, made the announcement in Honiara today, with the funding coming out of the $1.3 billion climate finance commitment for 2022-2025.

The money — guided by the Tuia te Waka a Kiwa, New Zealand’s international climate finance strategy — will go directly into the existing Solomon Islands Provincial Capacity Development Fund that assists with developing climate adaptation plans and managing climate adaptation projects at a local level.

The funding has been made available though the Local Climate Adaptive Living (LoCAL) Facility designed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

LoCAL builds on the existing Solomon Islands Provincial Capacity Development Fund by providing performance-based climate resilience grants to cover costs of adapting to climate change — particularly small projects at a local level that reach the people who need help the most, such as women and youth.

Sepuloni said effective climate actions requires partnerships.

“Climate change is a global challenge that requires global and collective action,” Sepuloni said.

“That’s why we’re stepping up to provide climate finance to support provincial governments to build climate resilience at the grassroots.

“At the heart of this mission and our shared focus as a Pacific region, is the importance of supporting local and indigenous-led solutions to support effective climate action.”

She said the support delivered on that and doubled down on Aotearoa’s focus to tackle the threat of climate change in the Pacific.

Empowering provincial governments to integrate climate change resilience and adaptation into their planning, as well as accessing additional sources of climate finance to respond and adapt to climate change at the community-level is a priority of the Solomon Islands government, Sepuloni said.

She said the support was also an immensely practical investment in building climate resilience in the region.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said most Solomon Islanders lived in rural, low-lying coastal areas of the country, where provincial governments, churches and other community groups deliver essential services.

“These communities are among those on the frontline of the climate crisis – but are those who have contributed the least to climate change,” Shaw said.

He said the support package was aimed at reaffirming New Zealand’s efforts to ensuring the response to the climate crisis is inclusive and supportive of local leadership and support communities’ right across Solomon Islands.

“We also welcome the opportunity this creates for others to invest in Solomon Islands provincial government programmes to respond to climate change,” he added.

Meeting with PM Sogavare
Sepuloni’s first stop on the Pacific tour marks the return of the government’s regional visits which, prior to the pandemic, had been undertaken annually.

She was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele later today.

Her delegation of New Zealand MPs, government officials, community leaders and journalists will also attend various presentations and events led by the local community with a focus on early childhood education, climate change, youth development and labour mobility.

Over the course of the week, Sepuloni will also be visiting Fiji and Tonga.

These annual Pacific missions are described as an integral part of the New Zealand government’s commitment to maintaining its relationship with Pacific Island countries through consultation and helping them respond to ongoing challenges.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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