Debt-free climate finance for poorest

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand director Mena Antonio has travelled to Port Moresby, PNG, to talk Climate Change.

She is there with 25 Caritas delegates who have mostly flown in from around the South Pacific region for the meeting.

As part of its contribution to the meeting, Caritas ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) is calling for more transparent and effective climate finance channels to deliver funds and results directly to the local level in the Pacific.

It wants to see priority given to the poorest and most vulnerable without adding to the burden of debt.

Called “Twin clouds on the horizon: averting a combined climate and debt crisis in the Pacific through locally-delivered climate finance,” Caritas ANZ and six other members of the Caritas Oceania regional network released the report in Port Moresby on Tuesday at the network’s annual forum.

“The real fight against climate change is happening at the grass roots and coastal edges, where people are protecting their lives and livelihoods as best they can,” says Antonio.

“We just need key decision-makers to recognise the value of local solutions and get in behind to support that. COP21 in Paris was a breakthrough moment in climate action. We are hoping for another breakthrough moment around COP27 to provide for the real needs of the poor. We will never let go of that hope.”

Antonio says communities need to be able to directly access climate-related funds to support solutions they have identified themselves.

“Local groups and civil society also need to be actively involved to deliver, monitor and evaluate climate finance projects. We’ve seen the value of local involvement in design and implementation for our long-term development programmes. It’s not only valuable, it’s necessary.”

Accountability works two ways, Antonio says.

“Funders need to be assured that money is going to the purposes intended, while local communities need to be assured that climate-related projects meet their needs, can adapt to changing circumstances and provide for their future.”

Among the stories the report profiles is one from Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island Marine Environment Awareness and Response team.

Its work includes helping communities build traditional seawalls against coastal flooding and plant mangroves to prevent coastal erosion. A big problem, however, is obtaining funding. It’s a struggle, the team says.

The newly-released report also shows the multiple benefits of smaller organisations working with larger NGOs to access funds.

Twin Clouds builds on a decade of environmental monitoring across the Pacific. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand leads this work through the Caritas State of the Environment for Oceania series.

This series tracks climate finance trends and reports how local communities experience and respond to climate crises. These include extreme weather, coastal erosion and sea level rises, access to safe food and water, and mining and drilling of the ocean floor.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand also shares these stories through “The Oceanian Monitor” map and other online resources.


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News category: New Zealand.

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