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Russia to assist Pacific island nations in weathering climate-related disasters

October 17, 10:40 UTC+3 SYDNEY
The joint $7.5 million Russia-UNDP Pacific program has been drawn up for three years
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Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands

Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands

© AP Photo/Rob Griffith

SYDNEY, October 17. /TASS/. Russia is launching a program to help Pacific island countries bolster their resistance to the adverse effects of climate change, Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s International Organizations Department, Dmitry Maksimychev informed TASS. He is taking part in the inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee of the UN Development Program (UNDP) project to strengthen the climate resilience of small Pacific island states funded by Russia underway in Nadi, Fiji.

"The main task is to discuss with our partners our project, which is officially going into effect today," the Russian diplomat said. "This project is a groundbreaking one to a certain extent. The matter at hand is Russia’s first project for the Pacific island countries, which belong to a group of vulnerable countries susceptible to natural hazard risks. The task of assisting these countries is enshrined in many UN documents and it is fully consistent with the UN’s sustainable development agenda."

Trust fund and generous sums

"The joint $7.5 million Russia-UNDP Pacific program has been drawn up for three years," Maksimychev went on to say. "Taking part in it will be 14 countries and one territory (the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Tokelau)."

"Money is allocated on a pro bono basis, the draft document clearly defines the terms of use. Nothing is done without our consent, and this is the point of creating the Steering Committee, which comprises representatives of Russia, the UNDP and the recipient countries," he said.

Maksimychev noted that the climate resilience programs of small Pacific island countries will be financed from the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund.

"This fund is formed from Russia’s payments totaling $25 million for four years, which is a very significant amount. As part of the Trust Fund activities, we provide assistance to a wide range of countries, but, naturally, the priority is given to the CIS member-countries and our closest partners. At the same time, the list of recipient countries is not limited to these countries as evidenced by today’s event in Fiji. By the way, the Trust Fund will soon receive $10 million in additional climate projects funding," the Russian representative explained.

Program’s essentials

Commenting on the new Russian program, Maksimychev said that "it is mainly a question of technical assistance, that is, transferring knowledge, training local personnel to process and exchange information in the best possible way, responding to natural disasters, effectively using financial mechanisms to increase disaster preparedness and emergency relief. "The UNDP experts will oversee this work with the assistance of our agencies, if they have the relevant expertise," the diplomat stressed.

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