Speaking at the opening ceremony, chief guest and the Acting Minister responsible for Environment and Climate Change (MEIDECC), Lord Ma’afu urged everyone to be “frank, constructive and reflective of the approach for future programs and activities”.
“I cannot stress enough the need to ensure that your deliberations and exchanges deliver concrete and tangible outcomes that will advance our common, regional agenda and individual island needs,” said Lord Ma’afu.
“I am also confident that the workshop will arrive at its desired outcomes and goals, with the diverse expertise and experience of the participants involved,” he added.
Lord Ma’afu pointed out that the meeting is a significant one with new projects and initiatives to be considered through the replenishment process for the new GEF-7 program.
In welcoming the delegates and participants, MEIDECC Chief Executive Officer Paula Ma’u said the workshop provided an opportunity for participants from regional countries and other GEF partners, to discuss and review policies and procedures.
He also said the countries shared lessons and experiences from development and implementation of GEF projects and their integration within national policy frameworks.
This year’s ECW’s topics included interactive exercises and discussions regarding the GEF-7 replenishment process, facilitating synergies in implementing Multilateral Environmental Agreements towards sustainable development, Monitoring & Evaluation, Cross-cutting capacity development, stakeholder engagement & gender mainstreaming and Green Finance.
Mr Ma’u said that many of the countries have benefited from GEF’s financial support to address many national environmental concerns, through the different funding cycles.
“This is the only Facility that is multi-focal in its funding allocations, which addresses the three RIO Conventions, and other relevant Environmental Conventions,” he said.
GEF is going through its replenishment process for the new GEF-7 program starting in July 2018.
Mr Ma’u said the GEF financial instrument was established to help achieve national environmental and climate change goals and at that same time make meaningful contribution to protecting the global environment.
The GEF Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW) for the Pacific Islands Constituency is held on an annual basis.
The ECW is a component of the GEF Country Support Programme (CSP) and brings together GEF focal points, national focal points from the main international environmental conventions (biodiversity, desertification, climate change, and persistent organic pollutants), representatives from the civil society, GEF Agencies and the GEF Secretariat.
Photo supplied by Government of Tonga (Chief Guest Lord Ma'afu with participants after the opening ceremony at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel).