NEWS

SODELPA MP Queries $4 Million COP 23 Donation

The Secretariat presented its COP 23 Presidency Trust Fund Account: Second Semi Annual Report from November 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018.
05 Feb 2019 12:26
SODELPA MP Queries $4 Million COP 23 Donation
COP 23 Presidency Secretariat executive director John Connor during submissions before the parliamentary standing committee on Public Accounts. Photo: Parliament of Fiji

COP 23 Presidency Secretariat executive director John Connor has remained tight lipped about the $4 million that was anonymously donated to the secretariat during Fiji’s presidency in Bonn, Germany, in 2017.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Member of Parliament (MP) Aseri Radrodro  raised the question during the COP 23 Secretariat’s submission to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts yesterday.

The Secretariat presented its COP 23 Presidency Trust Fund Account: Second Semi Annual Report from November 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018.

Mr Radrodro had asked Mr Connor to elaborate further on the $4m donation that was classified as ‘others’ in the report.

He also queried if there were any conditions attached to the donation of such a significant amount.

To this, Mr Connor replied: “It was the request of the donor country to remain anonymous and there were no specific restrictions beyond supporting the work of the COP 23 presidency initiatives.

“And it remains the view of that country that they wish to remain anonymous for reasons of their own.”

Mr Rodrodro further asked about the unused funds which according to the financial report  needed to be returned to the donor.

The executive director replied : “Depends on how much it has used up, we have had some significant expenditures.

“We have had the two inter sessional meetings. The discussion on the remaining funds lies with the parties on how they would use it.”

Another SODELPA MP and committee member Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu raised a question regarding the backing of about FJ$314.94 million received by the Secretariat.

Mr Connor answered: “That is money towards the InsuResilience Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance. I think, in particular, Germany and United Kingdom made significant contributions towards that.”

He said he was not entirely sure of initiatives that were funded here in Fiji but there was a possibility that one insurance initiative might have received the funding from the InsuResilience Global Partnership.

“This is like an additional funding stream that is available to vulnerable countries,” Mr Connor said.

FijiFirst MP and Standing Committee on Public Accounts Chairperson Alvick Maharaj had asked what was to happen to the Secretariat now that the COP presidency has shifted from Fiji to Poland.

Mr Connor said: “We are busy going through the audit, doing reporting and assessment of all that is available.

“There are still payments being processed, it’s matter for the Government to decide how exactly to move forward from here,” he said.

“The secretariat will continue for at least another couple of months because we have some responsibilities to finalise with our donor countries.

“After that the Government will have to make a decision on how they will support these activities or will they be able to absorb these into the government agencies.”

Fiji handed the COP 24 presidency to Poland last December.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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