Solomon Islands gets access to fund to combat climate change

26 Aug 2010

Photo: Kenneth Solberg / UNDP

HONIARA – Solomon Islands has become the first country in the Pacific region, and one of four countries in the world, to qualify for a special international fund for projects that help nations gear up for climate-related changes.

The board of a fund to help developing countries adapt their agricultural resources and food security to potential threats of climate change earlier this month approved US$5 million in support of projects proposed by the Government of Solomon Islands.

“Access to the Adaptation Fund will give Solomon Islands an exceptional chance to take action to reverse the adverse effects of climate change that numerous communities throughout the archipelago already experience," said Knut Ostby, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator.

"The project aims to ensure a high level of community participation, incorporating both traditional knowledge and modern technology into the adaptation initiatives."

Among the projects eligible to receive support were an initiative to help build nurseries and germ plasma centres for crop varieties that thrive through changing climatic conditions and food storage units with durability for periods of extreme weather.

The Adaptation Fund board requested the Solomon Islands Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology and its partners, to submit a detailed operational and technical implementation plan. UNDP is providing planning support.

The Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Rence Sore, said: "Solomon Islands, as a Least Developed Country and as a Small Islands Developing State, is very vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. We are fortunate to be one of the four countries to receive financing from Adaptation Fund Board."

The Fund was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to finance specific adaptation projects in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol and that are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change.

The Solomon Islands project aims to strengthen technical skills and resources within public and private institutions. It is called “Enhancing resilience of communities to the adverse effects of climate change in agriculture and food security”.

The funds will make special provision for the needs of the 85 percent of Solomon Islands' population living in the provinces, helping them with tools, knowledge and technology to  strengthen their self reliance. For example, it will help with efforts to  convert corn into corn flour, and preserve and sell dried fish.

A series of consultations has been organized over the coming months to share lessons learned and build knowledge as the full project proposal is developed. The first consultation, held on 29-30 July, in the capital Honiara, brought together around 30 people from relevant ministries, academia and non-governmental organizations.

The full project proposal is expected to be finalized within a couple of months and submitted to the Fund board. Once funding is secured, by the end of the year, activities are expected to commence in 2011.

“The fact Solomon Islands is located in a disaster prone region, challenged by drought, flooding, king tides, sea level rise, and ocean acidification is creating food scarcity in various locations of the country," said Colin Beck, Solomon Islands Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

"This is also creating pockets of poverty in the country and placing much stress on gains made for achieving our timebound Millennium Development Goals,” said Beck, referring to the eight global goals (MDGs) that will be reviewed at a high level summit in New York in September.

The MDGs aim to substantially reduce poverty and hunger; empower women; increase access to essential services of education, healthcare, clean water and sanitation; reduce the incidence of specific deadly diseases; protect the environment; and forge strong global partnerships for development.

Contact Information

For information and media enquiries, please contact: 

Ms. Cherie Hart, Communications Advisor, UNDP Regional Service Centre, Bangkok: cherie.hart@undp.org

Mr. Gabor Vereczi, Technical Advisor on Climate Change and Adaptation, UNDP Apia: gabor.vereczi@undp.org