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UN resident Coordinator in Fiji Sanaka Samarasinha speaking at the launch of the Climate Security project

Suva, FIJI – The United Nations [UN] in partnership with the Governments of Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands launched a groundbreaking cross-border Climate Security Project in the Pacific today. The USD $3.2 million project is part of the UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) – the UN’s financial instrument of first resort to sustain peace in countries and regions at risk or affected by conflict, including caused by climate change.

Over the next twenty-four months, the UN Climate Security Project will provide support to assess and begin activities to support addressing critical climate security challenges faced by the three nations, including displacement and forced migration due to loss of livelihoods, food sources and coastal erosion; increased social tensions linked to shrinking land and fisheries resources; as well as rising costs of responding to worsening natural disasters.

 Speaking at the launch from New York, Khaled Khiari, UN Assistant Secretary General for Middle East, Asia and the Pacific in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said: “This project is ground-breaking in many ways. It is the first Peacebuilding Fund climate security project in the pacific; the first multi-country project of its kind in the region. Climate change in the Pacific has the potential to cause a myriad of cascading fragility and instability risks. This Project will focus on tailored climate security assessments, inclusive youth and gender-sensitive dialogues, and partnerships with key stakeholders in a bid to prevent reaching critical thresholds of social conflict. “

At the virtual and in person gathering of more than a hundred delegates, including key regional actors, diplomatic corps and civil society, the President of the Republic of Kiribati, H.E. Taneti Maamau; the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hon. Kausea Natano and the President of the Marshall Islands, H.E. David Kabua underscored the criticality of immediate efforts to address climate change challenges and the significance of the project to the three low lying Atoll nations; all of which are only two meters above sea-level at their highest points. “This is about our survival, safety and security,” echoed President Kabua.

“It is time for action now. We need more investment like this project on climate change, more innovation, more adaptive measure as we move forward,” added H.E. Taneti Maamau of President of Kiribati. 

“This project is showing a significant commitment from the UN to the Pacific and the most vulnerable countries in the world,” said Hon. Kausea Natano of Prime Minister of Tuvalu.

The Climate Security Project will be implemented by two UN agencies – the UN Development Programme [UNDP] and the International Organization for Migration [IOM].

The UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is the organization’s financial instrument of first resort to sustain peace in countries or situations at risk or affected by violent conflict. The PBF may invest with UN entities, governments, regional organizations, multilateral banks, national multi-donor trust funds or civil society organizations. From 2006 to 2017, the PBF has allocated $772 million to 41 recipient countries. Since its inception, 58 member states contributed to the Fund, 33 in the present 2017-2019 Investment Plan. The Fund works across pillars and supports integrated UN responses to fill critical gaps; respond quickly and with flexibility to peacebuilding opportunities; and catalyze processes and resources in a risk-tolerant fashion.

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United Nations launches pioneering climate security project in the Pacific