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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Prof Biman Prasad. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Between 2003 and 2016, the Pacific region only accessed $1.7billion in climate financing, says Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad.

The figures, he stated, were reflective of the cumbersome, rigorous and complex requirements needed by vulnerable nations to even access these climate funds.

In his address at the International Monetary Fund high-level meeting in Nadi, the Deputy Prime Minister said access to climate funds mattered.

“Speed of access to finance matters. The prepositioning of finance matters.

“We live the climate crisis across the Pacific — from the highlands of PNG to the flatlands of the Federated States of Micronesia as the climate change super-charged El Nino unfolds with ferocity unseen in decades,” he said.

“We feel the impacts of climate change on our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure — at our jetties, in our schools and across our roads.

“We feel climate change in the runaway increases in the cost of food and other essential items that are driven by floods, droughts, and grave uncertainty in weather patterns across the world.” Prof Prasad said elders in the region met the bitter reality of runaway price increases fuelled by climate change every day when they purchased bread and food in shops and markets across the Pacific.

He said they felt the impact of climate change on their social infrastructure – in growing crime, gender violence, and in the communities.

The minister said the prices of essential food increased further as an effect of the immediate impact of flooding Fiji faced this past week.

“The Pacific makes no special claim to be the only region to be impacted by the climate crisis in intense ways,” he said.

“No country outside the Blue Pacific is considering the whole scale migration of its people as a result of climate change — none.

“No country outside the Pacific is exploring legal options to maintain state continuity to prepare for an eventuality when their lands are lost to sea level rise. None.

“No country outside of SIDS has faced a 30-100 per cent loss of their GDP following a single extreme weather event.”

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