July 22, 2022 – The Climate Finance Access Network (CFAN) convened partners, regional stakeholders, and its Pacific advisor cohort in Suva, Fiji to advance a diverse pipeline of regional climate projects. CFAN, an initiative established to unlock access to climate finance through building lasting regional capacity, marked the conclusion of its inaugural training program and celebrated the accomplishments of Pacific advisors representing Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. These advisors have been recruited by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) as CFAN’s implementing partner in the Pacific, trained, and embedded in finance and climate change ministries in their respective countries to advance regional climate priorities and unlock investment in resilience.
CFAN advisors have been actively working in their respective government ministries, developing project concepts and proposals and building bankable project pipelines since their onboarding in early 2022. Amongst them, they have completed five concept notes, spanning climate smart agriculture, solar and resilient housing, grid-connected solar and battery storage, among others. On July 19, CFAN celebrated the graduation of this cohort from CFAN’s intensive and Pacific contextualized climate finance training. This rigorous program developed their skills in project design, finance, and communication and facilitation, while all the time tailoring interventions to the specific needs of Pacific countries. With the presence and support of CFAN’s main donor, Global Affairs Canada, who funded CFAN with an initial grant of CAD $9.5 million, advisors were celebrated for their accomplishments and honored with certificates of completion. “At CFAN,” said Laetitia De Marez, Director of CFAN, “we aim to take a practical approach to addressing the climate challenge, one that is driven by country priorities and fundamentally people-centered. In this effort to unlock climate finance, our advisors are the tip of the spear.”
A core team from RMI, who serves as CFAN’s network coordinator, working closely with the GGGI team based out of Suva, organized and supervised the event, which allowed advisors to advance in-progress concept notes and draw on expert input to accelerate the process towards endorsement by climate funds and developing full proposals. Throughout the write-shop advisors could directly draw on expertise and experience of the CFAN core team, GGGI’s Fiji and Regional team, and training partners such as the Pacific Climate Change Centre, E Co, and Bankers without Boundaries to improve the quality of project concepts, strategies, and plans they are currently developing. Advisors also had the opportunity to connect with key stakeholders from across the region, individuals they will be working with in the near future to develop projects and accelerate access to climate finance. CFAN is cohort-based to create a strong community of practice and enhance peer to peer learning, and advisors have been convening remotely over the course of their training. The write-shop was their first opportunity to meet in person to discuss experiences, future work, and form meaningful connections with their cohort fellows.
CFAN’s Pacific implementation partner, GGGI helps hire and recruit CFAN advisors and provides key management and backstopping support to the advisors during their tenure. GGGI has been critical to the execution of the write-shop and facilitated a site visit to the Yavusa Navakavu community for write-shop attendees. On site, participants were able to see the climate challenges local communities face, and the work the Yavusa Navakavu Development Trust is undertaking to combat it. Fiji’s CFAN advisor Shelveen Kumar helped prepare and submit a funding proposal to the Blue Accelerator Grant scheme funded by UNDP. If successful, this project will help facilitate the effective management of the Navakavu Mangrove Sanctuary & Eco Tourism Park by enhancing community participation in natural resources management through eco-tourism and support the second phase of the development of a blue bond pipeline for Fiji. “The site visit to Navakavu brought home the reality and urgency of climate change on the ground in Pacific Islands. The writeshop has enabled the CFAN advisors to takes steps forward with project pipeline development and refine concept notes ready for submission. We will all continue working closely with national and local partners to submit concept note and proposals to funders to accelerate access to financing for climate action,” said Katerina Syngellakis, Pacific Regional Director for GGGI.
Navakavu community members warmly welcomed CFAN participants and other partners to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between GGGI and the Yavusa Navakavu Development Trust, a partnership that represents an opportunity to achieve impact in a socially inclusive, participatory way. The technical assistance from CFAN will advance the Trust’s vision of a blue economy model, aligned to the UN sustainable development goals, and assist in achieving the objectives outlined in the Trust’s masterplan for the Navakavu Blue Economic Zone.