Cook Islands has called for immediate and full replenishment of Green Climate Fund at the United Nations.

Speaking at the United Nations in New York Tuesday at the Commonwealth Minister’s Dialogue on climate change, resilience building and ocean action, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown said “nothing less than full replenishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is acceptable!”

DPM Brown was the first speaker following the Keynote Address by the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley and was followed by a number of Commonwealth Leaders and Ministers during the interactive dialogue facilitated by New Zealand Minister Aupito William Sio.

DPM Brown emphasised climate financing was a critical component of resilience building and put forward three requirements which would enable Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) like the Cook Islands to mitigate against the impacts of climate change and build critical national resilience.

The first, the need for immediate and full replenishment of the GCF. DPM Brown observed the UN and its membership had fallen short of the hundred billion dollar climate finance target by 2020 and noted when one considered the coal exports earnings by the world’s largest emitters, the GCF target was a very modest sum of money.

Second, the only basis for approvals for finance access and funding for climate resilience is scientific evidence of climate vulnerability, and not the prosperity or indebtedness of a country.

“A country’s climate vulnerability is the only basis for GCF responsiveness to member proposals – not prosperity, and not indebtedness”.

Third, for SIDS like the Cook Islands, grant funding was a necessary modality for climate financing. If borrowing was necessary, terms and conditions needed to enable resilience strengthening.

“If we are to borrow then we must look at non-traditional terms and conditions. Zero percent interest over fifty years or even a hundred years, because we know that the emissions that have increased have taken place over generations, and it will take generation to fix this, but it’s not going to happen unless action takes place now.”

The dialogue was particularly relevant given the recent catastrophe caused by Cyclone Dorian in the Caribbean to which Keynote addressee Barbados Prime Minister Mottley described in great detail during her remarks.

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