On her first official visit to the Republic of Mauritius, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland joined an interactive session focused on the achievements of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, held on Tuesday, 3 July 2018.
Attended by dignitaries, high commissioners of Commonwealth countries, heads of international organisations, academia, civil society and members of business community in Mauritius, the session was an opportunity for the Secretary General to share the experiences of the Climate Finance Access Hub, while also thanking the Government of Mauritius, donor countries and stakeholders for their steadfast support to the programme.
In his opening address, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Climate Finance Access Hub Steering Committee, V.K Daby, presented an overview of the Hub successes over just 18 months of its operational life. He briefed the audience about the next phase of the Hub operations, to be marked by institutional strengthening and maturity, along with expansion and diversity in the range of services offered to Commonwealth member countries.
In her keynote speech, Secretary-General Scotland highlighted the success of the Climate Finance Access Hub in providing technical support on a range of development concerns in Commonwealth countries.
“The Commonwealth includes some of the climatically most vulnerable countries in the world. Recent cyclones and hurricanes in the Caribbean and Pacific Regions devastated our small island member states. Whereas, many other countries in the Africa and Asian Regions are faced with flash floods and severe droughts. All these weather related events are now scientifically proven to be direct consequences of climatic changes,” she told the gathering. Such countries need technical support, capacity building as well as access to finance for their climate actions.
Secretary-General Scotland said that in a short period of time, the climate finance hub has made significant contributions to its beneficiary countries. With £3.7 million already mobilised, £135 million of climate finance in the pipeline in the shape of project activities being developed by national advisers.
She offered her sincere thanks to Government of Australia and United Kingdom for the financial contributions towards the operations of the Hub. She also thanked the Government of Mauritius for hosting the Hub in Port Louis and for supporting the work of the Hub at all the regional and international forums.
The British High Commissioner in Mauritius, Keith Allan said the United Kingdom was pleased to be a significant contributor to the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub. He spoke about the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April, which, amongst other major issues, addressed climate-related threats to small island states, and generated a joint commitment to ocean health through the Commonwealth Blue Charter.
Mr Allan said he looked forward to seeing Mauritius play a full part in helping to shape the future of the Commonwealth.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Mauritius Jenny Dee said her country had been pleased to pledge a further AUD1 million to the Hu at CHOGM in April 2018, recognising the important role the Commonwealth plays to advocate for climate vulnerable states.
“As a founding donor to the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, this additional funding reflects Australia’s strong record of prioritising the most vulnerable, both through our climate support in the aid program and our advocacy in climate negotiations,” she said, adding that Australia also looked forward to working closely with Mauritius under the Commonwealth Blue Charter to co-champion the issue of coral reefs.
In conclusion, Secretary-General Scotland stressed the need for additional funding to expand the scope of Hub operations. She invited Commonwealth countries and other donors to come forward with financial and technical support.