Pacific Island Forum Secretariat finance adviser Exsley Taloiburi is worried that climate change may slip down regions’ agenda as Pacific ministers put focus on coronavirus.
Speaking in the margins of the Economic Forum Ministers Meeting (FEMM) Taloiburi said while the deadly virus can be quarantined and worked around, the change in weather patterns can never be quarantined.
Taloiburi said the impact of climate change will remain as the greatest threat to Pacific people in the longer term.
He said while regional leaders discuss of the economic and social impacts of coronavirus, it is important for them to be reminded of the threat of climate change in the Pacific.
“It’s important because at this time where economies are affected by the coronavirus issues, there is scarcity in terms of financial resources.”
Taloiburi also said opportunities exist under global climate finance funding mechanisms that countries can tap into to build resilience and health infrastructure.
The Green Climate Fund, for instance, has a dedicated area on health which can be utilised to finance projects such as new hospitals.
Taloiburi said none of the Forum Island countries have yet tapped into this health funding.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat offers assistance if countries wish to make applications.