13 Mar 2014

Claims big states muscle out smaller countries in race for climate change funds

4:36 pm on 13 March 2014

Tuvalu's agriculture minister, Elisala Pita, says tiny Pacific nations are being out muscled by larger states in the race to get UN funds earmarked for climate change adaptation.

He has slammed the UN's funding mechanisms at a meeting in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator where land-locked developing countries and small island states have been debating how to ensure future food security amid hotter weather and rising sea-levels.

He says the UN promises a lot of funding, but the criteria to access it is so complicated, and small Pacific countries lack the capacity.

Elisala Pita says some regional organisations with the expertise to assist in attaining funds prioritise big staff with big salaries, meaning some funds never reach their intended destination.

Most Pacific island states get funds from richer nations or multilateral development banks to deal with the impacts from climate change, such as coastal erosion and salinisation.

But the minister says assistance from earmarked funds such as the UN Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund has not been not forthcoming.