Nadi, Fiji, May 12-16 2014: A series of workshops has been organized in the framework of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) by the Global Mechanism and its Secretariat, with financing support from the GEF and the European Commission. The aim is to familiarize participants of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) with the reporting system to the Convention and discuss the potentialities offered by a regional integrated approach to resource mobilization, notably through the establishment of a regional resource mobilization strategy for the PICs to promote UNCCD implementation. The GEF was invited to make a number of presentations and facilitated sessions on the resource mobilization strategy.
These series of workshops were held in Fiji, at the International Tanoa Hotel, 12-16 May 2014, gathering more than 25 participants from twelve Pacific Island Countries and international partners including SPC, SPREP, the European Commission, IUCN, and WWF. The first workshop focused on the reporting system, with the goal of improving the quality and the number of reports from affected country parties. Participants agreed that an increase in the number of national reports submitted by PICs could be beneficial to raise the profile of the Pacific region within the Convention and of their specificities as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Without such reporting, it would be difficult for the Convention to analyze and put forward appropriate recommendations and concrete actions to respond to the PICs specificities.
“The reporting system has been revised and drastically shortened. The template has gained in simplicity and the manual is available on-line. We hope these revisions will permit the countries to timely report to the UNCCD. The new reports are expected for June 2014” said Mr. Yang Youlin, from the UNCCD regional coordination unit.
“These series of workshops provides a timely opportunity for all the Pacific Island Countries to gain in capacities for the reporting process of the UNCCD” said Mr. Ropate Ligairi, the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture from Fiji. He added “The interaction with the GEF Secretariat has been essential to capture the different sources of financing and clarifies the status of the enabling activities under the UNCCD”.
“The time is short by the end of GEF5, but we thank Naoko Ishii, the GEF CEO, to let us finalize individual requests and an umbrella project for the enabling activities in the region” said Ms. Charlene Mersai, GEF Operational and UNCCD Focal Point, from the Office of the President, Palau.
Capacity building is a recurrent request from countries. During GEF5, Pacific Island countries received a particular attention on this issue with seven national Capacity Development projects and two regional projects representing 20 percent of the GEF5 CD portfolio ($9.38 million).
In terms of enabling activities, this is the first cycle that the GEF has received guidance from the Convention. The Conference of the Parties has requested the GEF Secretariat to finance the alignment of the National Action Programs with the 10-year strategy and the annual reporting. Before these workshops, only four countries were covered by an umbrella project developed by UNEP: Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, and Vanuatu. During the workshop on the regional resource mobilization, the GEF Secretariat clarified the situation for two countries that will receive individual support (Kiribati and Samoa). The other countries will be included in the last umbrella project: Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
For further information: Jean-Marc Sinnassamy, Senior Environment Specialist, Natural Resource team, GEF Secretariat email@example.com
For the Global Mechanism: Ines Chaalala, firstname.lastname@example.org,
For the UNCCD Secretariat: Yang Youlin, Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Unit, email@example.com