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Group photo of the Commonwealth's Climate Finance Access Hub Steering Committee

Climate Finance Access Hub Steering Committee meets in Mauritius

Mauritius’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade has stressed the importance of the Commonwealth’s Climate Finance Access Hub (CFAH) to countries facing the existential threat of climate change.

Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo was speaking at the opening of the Hub’s steering committee meeting last month in Port-Louis, Mauritius.

This was the second meeting of the committee, which is responsible for providing overall strategic guidance, and developing and adopting policy mechanisms for the operations of CFAH. It consists of representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Tonga, Australia, Mauritius, Namibia, Bangladesh and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).

The Hub opened its doors in September 2016 in Mauritius. It was set up to help countries untangle the red tape around climate financing, and make successful applications to the international funds that address climate change. Seven national advisors have already taken up long-term positions in government environmental departments and agencies, and in regional bodies such as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize.

British high commissioner to Mauritius Keith Allan, the Australian High Commissioner, Jenny Dee, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Usha Dwarka-Canabady, CFAH General Manager, Bilal Anwar, and chair of the steering committee Virendra Kumarsingh Daby were also present at the steering committee opening.

The dignitaries lauded the achievements of the Hub, which include a £582, 000 Green Climate Fund grant to Jamaica to support low carbon, climate resilient growth.

Among other items, five reports were presented and adopted during the steering committee meeting:

  1. Members received a progress report on the implementation of the CFAH. This provides an overview of its achievements through the generous and continuous support of the government of Mauritius, Government of Australia and Government of United Kingdom.
  2. The committee adopted the Financial Report, which provides an overview of the funding contributions and expenditures incurred for the CFAH operations. The chair expressed his appreciation for the generosity of Australia, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the government of Mauritius.
  3. The members of the steering committee adopted and endorsed the work plan for the next 18 months. The plan illustrates the work processes which need to be
    accomplished from January 2018 to June 2019 and also lists the specific goals and activities to be undertaken.
  4. The steering committee also deliberated on important issues such as  resource
    mobilization, promotion and outreach, as well as monitoring and evaluation - all critical elements of the operations and financial sustainability of CFAH.
  5. They agreed to implement knowledge management, one of the fundamental elements of the operational design, in a phased manner and be more focused on dissemination, distribution and accessibility.

Their meeting was followed by a two-day training session at the hub headquarters. National climate finance advisers and international experts from UNDP, IRENA, AfDB, AF, Commonwealth Secretariat participated.

The training included round table discussions and presentations. These sessions gave advisers an understanding of the rapid changes taking place in climate finance, such as the rules, procedures and the investment criteria of international climate finance institutions.