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COP28: Pacific leaders launch ‘Blue Prosperity’ initiative in Dubai

The ‘Blue Pacific Prosperity’ initiative was unveiled on the side-lines of the UN climate talks in Dubai.

It is made up focuses on three goals to protect the ocean, have healthy people and ensure finance is accessible.

A major design of the initiative allows philanthropic organisations and the private sector to give money.

The chief executive and president of Bezos Earth Fund Andrew Steer pencilled in US$100,000 at the launch of the initiative on 3 December.

“Today, you are announcing the biggest single biggest conservation effort in history,” Steer told Pacific leaders at the launch.

The Global Environment Facility also announced another US$125m.

Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna said the proposal would create a new way for the Pacific to generate finance, especially for ocean management and conservation.

The private sector is very interested in contributing towards environmental measures, he said.

“This is the first time that we in the Pacific are now looking at not just the traditional sources of funding that we’ve been getting, but a new source of funding,” Puna said.

“I don’t think it’s an opportunity that we should dismiss; we should really embrace it and importantly receive [finance] on our own terms.”

Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr said the Pacific had demonstrated to the world the region is committed to the environment.

“We are doing our part, and we ask our friends and partners to do their part, and also to invest in us.”

Pacific leaders have long been critical of climate finance, which they see as inadequate and hard to access.

The Blue Pacific Prosperity business case document said there was “broad consensus about what needs to be done”, but insufficient funding.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that US$1 billion per year should be spent in the Pacific on climate adaptation, while the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates the need to spend US$650m annually just to meet renewable energy targets,” it said.