The FINANCIAL -- The Green Climate Fund (GCF) on November 6 approved a $31 million climate adaptation grant for the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) planned Fiji Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Project that will benefit a third of the country’s population of 860,000.
The $222 million project is expected to be financed by the grant from GCF, a $67.7 million loan from ADB, and other sources. The GCF grant was among the first group of projects approved by the GCF Board at its meeting in Livingston, Zambia on 2-5 November. ADB gained accreditation to access GCF funding in March, the first multilateral development bank to do so. The European Investment Bank is also considering providing cofinancing for the project, according to ADB.
“We are happy to partner with GCF on this important project, which demonstrates how infrastructure loans can be blended with GCF grants to build climate resilience in vulnerable countries,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao. “We look forward to deeper collaboration with GCF to help developing countries in Asia and the Pacific access urgently needed climate finance.”
The project, which is subject to ADB Board approval, will build new infrastructure to increase clean water supplies by 20% and boost wastewater treatment capacity by 200% in the greater Suva area, the main metropolitan center of Fiji.
“We are extremely delighted that GCF has approved the $31 million grant for Fiji. The fact that we are the first Pacific Island country to receive such a grant is demonstrative of Fiji’s deep commitment to building our resilience to climate change and working with our development partners to address this global phenomenon,” said Fijian Prime Minister Hon. J.V. Bainimarama.
The GCF grant will cover a third of the funds needed to ensure the water supply system is more resilient to anticipated climate change impacts. The water intake for the new system will be moved higher up the Rewa River to avoid saltwater intrusion from a rise in the sea level and to cope with likely shifts in river flows in the future. The water system will be climate-proofed through a number of measures including strengthening pipes to make them more resilient to flooding. By providing an alternative source of water for the greater Suva area the overall water network will also become stronger.
The development of urban infrastructure and services has lagged the rapid growth in Fiji’s towns and cities. Droughts, floods, and rising sea levels increase further the cost of these services which are critical to good health, social and economic development. Fiji and other low-lying Pacific countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu are among most vulnerable countries in the world to a changing climate.
Every year the Asia and Pacific region experiences a high number of typhoons, floods, and other natural calamities, and between 2005 and 2014 climate-induced disasters killed nearly 225,000 people and caused an estimated $350 billion in damage. ADB recently announced a doubling of its climate financing to $6 billion by 2020 in order to assist developing Asia in the fight against climate change.
The GCF announcement comes ahead of the Paris COP21 climate change conference later this month, where nations from around the world are expected to agree on a global pact to tackle climate change and to ensure finance is made available for developing countries to cope with its impacts.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.