Members, Our Voice, Statements

Statement delivered by H.E. Gerald M. Zackios, Ambassador of the Marshall Islands to the United States

Statement delivered by H.E. Gerald M. Zackios, Ambassador of the Marshall Islands to the United States


16 April 2023

H.E. Ambassador Gerald M. Zackios, Ambassador of the Marshall Islands to the United States

Before I begin my remarks today, let me thank Ms. Nakeeyat Dramani, Climate Vulnerable Forum Youth Ambassador for her eloquent remarks and powerful reminder to all of us. 

I have the honor to address this important gathering amongst custodians of public finance and discuss the financial and fiscal challenges of addressing existential climate threats. 

As an atoll nation on the frontlines of climate change, we are acutely aware of the climate risks we are facing and it would take for us to secure a safe future for our economy, country economy, and the lives and livelihoods of our people.

There is no doubt there is a major gap in financial protection. Our own experience of working on financial protection solutions has taught us this one valuable lesson: to be effective, realities on the ground must be taken into account, including but not limited to the unique development, geographical, and scientific context in each region and country. This is how we can make financial protection work for the vulnerable and we look forward to the implementation of the Global Shield. 

We need a whole raft of climate and disaster risk finance and the insurance solutions in the Pacific that are accessible and meet the range of needs that exist from the smallest of islands, such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and other atoll nations to the larger islands of the Pacific.

Timely access to funds should allow the most direct and immediate assistance to be received on the ground to even the most remote islands and communities. And we request the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC) to be provided with the full premium subsidy of 9 million dollars in a single charge to serve our needs comprehensively. 

Excellencies, we are not victims, but a resilient people. Even though we are on the frontlines of this crisis, our rights for development and progress are paramount. Helping the most vulnerable meet our sustainable development aspirations including through Climate Prosperity Plans require the full finance backing of the G7 and G20 and that of the private sector, which can achieve economies of scale through project-bundling opportunities across Pacific states where appropriate.

Climate finance remains a top development agenda item for us in the region. Our call for grant and concessional finance and readily-accessible finance has never been greater. The delivery of the hundred billion per year promise in 2009 and the doubling of adaptation finance is a necessity. But we also realize that a financial architecture attuned to the development aspirations of climate-vulnerable countries is also a vehicle for delivering climate finance required, including the allocation of greater resources for climate adaptation. In this regard, we welcome the Accra-Marrakech Agenda, and hope that by the time of its landing in Marrakech during our next ministerial dialogue, we would have mapped out the key reforms required in the international finance architecture. 

We need to shift the dial on implementing fundamental reform sooner rather than later. As previous chair of the CVF and the V20 and a current member of the Troika, the Marshall Islands made a financial contribution to the CVF-V20 Joint Multi-Donor Fund to support the work of the CVF and the V20 Group. 

Chair, we have witnessed how our financial contribution has benefited and continues to render benefits for V20-led initiatives by leveraging additional funds. We are not done yet. The climate fight we have started through the CVF and V20 platform is only beginning to unfold and for that reason we call for the establishment of an independent stand-alone secretariat for the CVF-V20 that is fully accountable to the presidency, the Troika, and its membership. 

I thank you for your attention.