Hon Manetoali, front right, at the UN climate talks underway in France.

    Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Hon Samuel Manetoali has welcomed a Multi-million dollar pledge for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) including Solomon Islands to implement some of its adaptation priorities in the face of the effects of climate change.

    The United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the COP21 host-France will donate a total of US$248-Million to the Least Developed Countries Fund. Solomon Islands as an LDC is eligible to access this fund, which is hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

    The LDCF plays a key role in addressing urgent and immediate adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries, focusing on reducing the vulnerability of sectors and resources that are central to human and national development, such as water, agriculture and food security and infrastructure, as identified and prioritized in the recipients National Adaptation Programme of Actions (NAPAs). Solomon Islands has its own NAPAs.

    The LDCF also supports the national adaptation planning process in coordination with agencies and institutions as a means to reduce medium- and long-term vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant policies, programmes and activities.

    From the LDCF’s inception in 2001 through June 2015, US$931.5 million has been approved for projects, programs, and enabling activities to meet this mandate. Projects supported by the LDCF have mobilized US$3.8 billion in co- financing in 49 countries.

    Solomon Islands currently benefits from two LDCF projects worth US$14.6-Million channeled through the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.

    Of the US$248-Million pledge made at the COP21 now underway in Paris, France:

    • Germany will contribute a total amount of 50 million Euros (approximately US$53 Million) to the LDCF (2015/2016).

    • The United States announced a contribution totaling US$51.175- Million to the LDCF in 2015 and 2016.

    • The UK will provide a further contribution of 30-Million GBP (approximately US$45.1-Million) to the LDCF in 2016.

    • France will provide a contribution of 25-Million Euros (approximately US$26.5-Million) to the LDCF in 2016.

    • Canada will contribute 30-Million CAD (approximately US$ $22.4 -Million) over the next two years.

    • In 2016 Denmark will commit 156-Million DKK (approximately US$22.1-Million) to the LDCF (subject to parliamentary approval). With this pledge, the cumulative Danish contribution to the LDCF amounts to 376 million DKK (approximately US$53-Million.

    • In 2016 the Swedish government intends to provide a grant of SEK 100 Million (approximately US$11.5- Million).

    • Ireland will continue to support the LDCF and will provide, subject to budget approval, at least 6.0- Million Euro (approximately US$6.4 Million) by 2020.

    • Switzerland will increase its annual contribution to the LDCF by 75% and will provide in total CHF 6.25 million (approximately US$6.0 Million) to the LDCF from 2015 until 2018.

    • Italy will provide to the LDCF, through its Ministry for the Environment, US$2 million by the end of 2015. Italy is strongly committed to scale up its support to the fund in the following years, including in 2016, subject to budget availability and approval.

    • Finland has supported the LDCF since 2003, the cumulative contribution amounts to about 32 million Euros (approximately US$41-Million). This includes the contribution given this year 1.6-Million Euros (approximately US$1.8-Million).

    In reference to the pledge in his remarks at the commencement of COP21, the US President, Barak Obama said climate change is a threat to the existence of particularly island nations.

    For this reason, he said, the US in concert with other nations confirms their strong and ongoing commitment to the Least Developed Countries’ Fund.

    Mr Obama said America will reduce its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels within 10 years from now whilst his French counterpart in his welcome address to the world leaders attending COP21 said France had put all its energy into reaching a universal binding agreement at this year’s climate talks.

    President Hollande said good will and statements of intent are not good enough to resolve the climate crisis facing the world, adding that the future of humanity rests on their shoulders.

    The British Prime Minister said a carbon emission reduction deal must have a binding legal mechanism and include a five-year review to gauge the progress made against the targets, financial support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries and mechanisms to measure and verify progress.

    The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology who heads the Solomon Islands Government delegation to the climate talks in Paris said, “ The pledge is highly welcomed as it will be of great assistance to the Least Developed Countries, including Solomon Islands, who are recognized under the Convention on Climate Change as the most vulnerable, to support them in adapting to the impacts of climate change.

    “I was pleased to hear the expressions of commitment made by these powerful world leaders to resolving the issue of climate change but as President Hollande rightly stated, good will and statements of intents are not good enough if world leaders are really serious about ensuring the continued survival of humanity, especially the vulnerable small island states.

    “I could sense that they do not underestimate the seriousness of climate change and the seriousness about reducing carbon emissions, though not down to the level that Solomon Islands is asking for.”

    Hon Manetoali added that the scale of carbon emissions put out by industrialised countries indeed requires an unprecedented solidarity and support by all world leaders in addressing if they are serious about addressing the cause of climate change and ensuring the right of all people to survival.

    He said the Solomon Islands Government looks forward to receiving more funds from the LDCF to help implement its climate change adaptation priorities and to this end his Ministry will work with relevant line Ministries and partners to develop new projects for submission for funding under the LDCF.