Creating Resilience Amongst Pacific Small Island Developing States
By Drake Kindred
Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.
Image 1: JPC Drake Kindred
My name is Drake Kindred and I am a Junior Professional Consultant with the UNDP Pacific Multi-Country Office based in Suva. I am working in the Resilience and Sustainable Development Department as part of the Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific Project team (Gov4Res). I hold a master’s in International Public Policy where I specialized in International Environmental Policy and Human Security along with an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Psychology. My work with UNDP Pacific has been very fulfilling and allowed for my policy research to be viewed in the field from a practical perspective.
My work with the Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific Project covers 8 Pacific Small Island Developing States where we focus on risk-informed development. The projects core theory of change rests on the assumption that island people’s will be more resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters if countries manage all development through a risk informed approach. Risk informing development recognizes that we must consider more than just the base cost of creating a project but also the additional cost of ensuring it is risk informed and resilient for the long-term. The theory of change emphasizes that these added costs will be offset by their long-term resilience that prevents projects from needing to be rebuilt due to the threat of climate change associated disasters including sea-level rise or cyclones.
The project also has a Small Grants Initiative that I am involved in which focuses on risk informing smaller scale projects and gives funding access to smaller NGO and community-level organizations and projects. The Small Grants Initiative is focused on development projects that have a high development impact and are aligned with the government’s priorities. By integrating risks into the design, implementation, and budget of the project it ensures climate change and disaster risks are adequately addressed while also maintaining gender and social inclusion considerations at the core of each intervention.
My work on these projects ranges from research, to monitoring and evaluation, and communications. My research has primarily focused on climate finance mechanisms that could help the Pacific with the increasingly large climate finance gap which grant-based financing cannot fulfill alone. Therefore, we have performed research on other mechanisms that may be able to join grant-based financing to meet the region’s climate finance needs including Green and Blue Thematic Bonds as well as Loss and Damage financing that follows-up on positive discussions at COP 27. My communications work is often in collaboration with this research as I have worked to translate our findings into cabinet-ready ministerial briefs. I have also created project briefs for several of our small grants projects and contributed to the creation of a project dashboard for donor and stakeholder visibility. Lastly, I have performed monitoring and evaluation not only from the office by looking at proposals and reports but also in the field within Fiji through several project site visits. This monitoring and evaluation field experience will be expanded to Kiribati at the end of March allowing me to fully understand the scale of climate threats to the most vulnerable of island states. Overall, this opportunity has dramatically expanded my knowledge of the UN system and the Pacific. Through my continued contribution I hope to help Pacific states adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change to prevent as many losses as possible going forward.