Building the coalitions necessary for transformative change in the Pacific is paramount in getting the region back on its feet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis.
This is done by leveraging private sector finance, building public-private partnerships, catalyzing new approaches, embracing new technologies and innovations, and continuing to directly assist the countries in taking climate action, including in accessing various sources of climate finance.
This is one of the key findings in the new Pacific Development Results Report, produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, and the Samoa Multi-Country Office, released on 5 December 2022.
The 80-page report highlights the critical role UNDP plays in helping countries in the region build back better after the pandemic, climate change and a myriad of pressing challenges the world is currently grappling with.
As the UN’s development arm, improving governance and accountability in the Pacific countries is primary for UNDP’s ambitions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the region. With support from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, UNDP’s governance efforts are bringing women to the forefront and embracing new participatory approaches to local and national governance.
UNDP is also partnering with the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund to currently finance 30 projects in 12 countries across the Pacific.
Other key results include: enabling universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services for local communities, which in turn leads to improving the health, education and working conditions in the Pacific Islands; With support from our partners in Australia, the European Union, and Japan, UNDP has supported the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu to establish disaster recovery and preparedness mechanisms, helping to reduce the economic costs associated with disasters.
“With fluctuating weather patterns, sea-level rise, and increases in droughts and floods, the Pacific Islands are the world’s most vulnerable populations facing ever-increasing risks, food insecurity, limited opportunities, and few chances to break through poverty traps and build better lives. Sustainable marine and coastal resource management is key. UNDP works with partners in the governments of the Pacific Islands to strengthen policies on sustainable marine and coastal resource management.
“COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis have impacted the Pacific Islands severely. For UNDP, recovery is green and accessible. “Digital transformation underpins UNDP’s work strengthening the Blue Economy opportunities in the Pacific.
“Where there are challenges and difficult conditions, we see openings to support people and communities to drive change and improve their circumstances. UNDP stands with Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and manage the threats of climate change and disasters,” said Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, Director, UNDP Regional Bureau.
The Pacific Development Results Report 2020-2021 highlights demonstrable results for both the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and the UNDP Samoa Multi-Country Office, and how these results have impacted the lives of Pacific Island people. The report is driven by evidence and substantiated by progress made over the years. It shows how that work has gone underway and presents two years’ key results across the 14 PICTs. The report explains UNDP’s value as a partner in the region, which is strategically positioned to assist Pacific Island governments to manage extreme challenges and capitalize on their equally dramatic potential for growth and prosperity.
“We acknowledge that some of the results in this report were achieved during the most challenging circumstances. We are grateful to our dedicated staff, who juggled personal and family crises while performing at the highest level, and for the confidence of our development partners. We remain focused on building resilience and supporting countries as they deal with pandemic conditions and plan for recovery,” said Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.
“UNDP’s ability to implement programmes successfully amidst an evolving and prolonged crisis situation, is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our staff. It is also reflective of the strength of the systems in place in UNDP to allow us to respond effectively. Leveraging digital transformation, our staff delivered results under immense pressure, with the help of strategic partnerships,” said Jorn Sorensen, Resident Representative, UNDP Samoa.
The Report emphasised UNDP’s added value and specific contribution to the success of programme and project activities, including the organization’s work with partners. The results and impact reflect programme or project activities, both completed and ongoing and how it has managed the unpredictable trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and political upheavals.