Pacific Conference of Churches general secretary Rev. James Bhagwan says Pacific communities are struggling to be resilient. “They have the Indigenous knowledge and understand their context; they are willing to do what it takes to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he said. “But they need help and they need it now, not when polluting countries finally feel charitable.”
Pacific Conference of Churches ecumenical animator for Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice, Frances Namoumou, said that accompaniment is vital in the midst of negotiating this crisis. “It means maximizing an opportunity to link what is happening at COP and our radical response to communities’ priorities,” she said.
The Pacific Conference of Churches, along with many civil society groups, has joined the Kioa Pledge to establish the Kioa Finance Mechanism to support adaptation needs of Pacific Island communities affected by climate change. The declaration and pledge aim to support communities by reaching out to their partners and those who are willing to support local communities in small- to medium-scale adaptation projects.
“We make this declaration to ensure our communities’ access to resources for climate adaptation, mitigation, relocation, resettlement and human security amidst the climate emergency,” reads the declaration.
The accompanying pledge outlines the responsibility to clear a pathway to resources. “The Kioa Finance Mechanism will exist as a user-friendly process that communities can access upon request,” the pledge reads.
Requests can range in scale, and can include capacity building, community adaptation projects, utilities access, planned relocation, and more. “This ensures the burden of access does not fall back on affected communities,” the pledge explains. “We call for national and subnational recognition and support for this community-responsible initiative.
For example, following a request from the community of Ekubu village on Vatulele Island, the Pacific Conference of Churches has sourced funding for adaptation, loss, and damage from climate-induced extreme weather.
The conference has also sourced funding from the Presbyterian Church (USA) for an outboard engine and solar-powered freezer after a boat used by youth to fish for economic empowerment was damaged during Tropical Cyclone Yasa in 2020.
The conference has sourced many other funding efforts as well, all of which support the call at COP26 for more subnational financial support for adaptation, loss, and damage.
WCC member churches head to COP27, ready to push for a just, sustainable global community - WCC news release 3 November 2022