The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub has helped Tonga secure a grant to put the country on the path towards low carbon emissions and climate-resilient development.
The Green Climate Fund grant will pay for a two-year ‘readiness programme’ preparing Tonga’s National Designated Authority to better engage with the Green Climate Fund and manage activities sponsored by the fund in the country.
The programme will improve the organisational performance of the authority and strengthen systems to enlist Tonga’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning as an accredited entity of the fund.
The authority is responsible for ensuring entities seeking finance from the fund, to roll out climate change adaptation and mitigation projects comply with national sustainable development objectives.
This is the second phase of the National Designated Authority Strengthening Readiness programme. The first phase completes at the end of this year but has already highlighted various challenges preventing the Pacific island from effectively engaging with the Green Climate Fund.
Challenges ranged from limited capacities to better gender inclusion to the need for more private sector engagement in climate action.
To overcome these challenges, the Commonwealth provided technical assistance to draft a grant proposal for the second phase of the programme which the fund approved on 31 October 2019.
The Commonwealth’s national climate finance adviser in Tonga, Othniel M. Yila, said: “This is a major step forward in helping the National Designated Authority take strategic oversight of the fund’s activities in Tonga.
“The authority will now become the main focal point for implementation partners in Tonga to access climate finance, who would otherwise have limited access to international climate finance before”.
“The programme will convene relevant public, private and civil society stakeholders to identify which priority sectors the fund should finance that are also in line with the national strategic objectives and priorities of Tonga.”
It is expected that once the readiness programme is completed, Tonga will be better placed to benefit from over $19.8 billion of climate finance contributed to the fund by developed countries towards climate action.
Since 2018, Dr Yila, as part of the Commonwealth Finance Access Hub, has helped Tonga make applications for projects currently in the pipeline, valued at $52 million in total, to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The hub, hosted in Mauritius, deploys national advisers in government departments of smaller and more vulnerable countries and has helped countries gain access to over $28 million of climate finance till date.