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Update on the Regional Technical Support Mechanism and Rapid Response Fund (RTSM/RRF) Assistance for Pacific Island Countries

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Administered by SPREP, the Regional Technical Support Mechanism (RTSM) is a registered network of experts in climate change who can provide coordinated and timely technical advice on appropriate resource opportunities, strategic approaches and technical assistance on climate change, as linked to food security and infrastructure, to Pacific island countries on a needs basis.

This network also provides, where necessary, support in developing project proposals, preparing reporting requirements and implementing, and monitoring projects.

Deployment of RTSM experts to member countries who request this assistance is financed by the Rapid Response Fund. Both the RTSM and RRF are funded by the Strategic Climate Fund through the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is envisaged that in the long term the RRF evolve into a climate change financing facility for the Pacific Region.

Since funds were first received in May 2015, 3 country requests have been financed through the deployment of 7 experts (FSM – 3; Tonga -2 and Nauru- 2) in response to requests made by member countries, using the RTSM request forms. A further 4 countries had requested assistance (Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Republic of Marshall Islands) and a total of 8 RTSM experts are planned to be deployed as early as March into the latter 4 countries.

Some successful examples of cooperation between regional organisations under the RTSM and RRF include the deployment of Pacific Islands Forum team to conduct a gap analysis and mapping of institutional arrangements in Nauru in preparation for accessing by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). One of the major outputs of this RTSM assistance is Nauru’s GCF Readiness application. The Government of Nauru is targeting submission of their Readiness Application to the GCF Secretariat the second week of March 2016.

One of the major RTSM assistance to member countries was the deployment of experts to prepare FSM’s medium size project proposal to the Adaptation Fund. These experts included a project development specialist, a monitoring & evaluation specialist and an EIA specialist. All of these experts were deployed within a few weeks of receiving the request from the Government of FSM.

Another example of the utilisation of the RTSM to deploy a technical expert into countries was based on a request from the Government of Tonga. A diagnostic study for Vava’u was successfully carried out in October 2015. This study will inform the development of a GCF proposal for a full Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan project, with the aim of enhancing resilience of the communities of Vava’u to climate change risks through coastal zone management. Tonga’s Director of Climate Change acknowledged the rapid response of the RTSM stating that the “findings will be used to develop climate change project proposals for projects to be implemented in Vava’u and recommendations in the study will be addressed as key priority activities under the JNAP 2”.

This RTSM deployment also saw close collaboration between regional organizations with the involvement of SPC in the drafting and refining of the Terms of Reference to ensure all deliverables would be in line with the Government of Tonga’s request for assistance.
For more information please contact Satui Bentin at satuib.ext@sprep.org