Climate related events such as cyclones, extreme tides, and drought can adversely affect a development policy.1 When these events occur, they can reduce the extent to which the policy is able to achieve its intended development objectives—or even cause it to fail. In the Pacific, climate related events can affect a wide range of different development policies in diverse ways. However, despite the known impacts of such events, many Pacific island country governments do not, in general, systematically account for these risks as part of ‘mainstream’ policymaking processes. Rather, consideration of climate change and disaster risk(s) tends to occur in a haphazard and piece-meal manner.
As a result, the design of many development policies in the Pacific does not incorporate adequate measures to deal with climate events, and some policies overlook this aspect altogether. In turn, many development policies are not as resilient to climate events (when they occur) and hence are not as effective at achieving their development objectives as they could be.
The Pilot Program for Climate Resilience: Pacific Regional Track (PPCR-PR) is a regional program that aims to strengthen integration of climate change and disaster risk considerations into ‘mainstream’ policymaking processes. The PPCR-PR was implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) and was funded through the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).
The focus of the PPCR-PR is to adapt and strengthen analytical tools that input to policymaking and related decision-making processes. By improving the quality of analyses that are routinely conducted to inform policymaking processes and by ensuring climate change and disaster risk is appropriately considered as part of these analyses, then:
i. the option(s) put forward to address a given policy problem will be of higher quality and more likely to incorporate measures to deal with climate events (as appropriate); and
ii. decision-makers will be able to make more informed and sound decisions, such that development policies can be expected to be more resilient to climate events and more effective at achieving their intended objectives.
The policy analysis tools that have been adapted and strengthened as part of the PPCR-PR are:
1. a central agency review tool;
2. a cost-benefit analysis tool;
3. the risk matrix tool; and
4. monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks.
Each of these tools are ‘generic’ policy analysis tools/methods such that they make a relatively broad contribution to a given policy-making process, rather than being limited to climate change and disaster risk elements only. This approach reflects the situation that climate change and disaster risks are typically just one of many considerations that need to be taken into account when designing and implementing an effective development policy.
Generally, it is more efficient to incorporate these considerations into existing analytical inputs rather than undertaking separate analyses. The approach also reflects that there is generally a capacity gap to effectively use existing ‘foundational’ policy analysis tools within small Pacific island country governments. Accordingly, there is limited benefit of additional and specialised analyses that only consider climate change and disaster risk without strong foundational policy inputs and core policy design. If the foundational analyses are not undertaken well, policies will still likely be ineffective at achieving their development objectives, even after rigorously accounting for climate change and disaster risk elements.
The PPCR-PR policy analysis tools have been piloted on a range of policy problems in Tuvalu and Kosrae State (Federated States of Micronesia). These applications show the tools can meaningfully contribute to the design and implementation of better quality policies. The tools have also been thoroughly reviewed by Tuvalu and Kosrae State Government officials as well as other ‘experts’ working in the region, and refinements have been made to the tools based on associated feedback.
The tools are now considered:
■■ clear and understandable;
■■ practical and workable in the Pacific island country government context; and
■■ to ‘strike the right balance’ between climate change and disaster risk and other important policy considerations, consistent with the purpose and methodological framework of the tool.
The tools are available for consideration by other Pacific island country governments and development partners. In addition, experiences from the pilot countries indicate that the PPCR-PR policy analysis tools are best implemented as part of a broader governance-strengthening reform effort that also aims to improve the rigour of underpinning policy procedures. The substantive work of public policy—the technical, creative, and intellectual rigour that is provided for in the PPCR-PR policy analysis tools— must be complemented by a rigorous approach to procedure that ensures each domain (e.g. central agencies) is afforded its proper role. One key opportunity to support this broader reform effort is through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness Programme.
Further, it is hoped the tools will facilitate a movement toward better alignment and harmonisation of overseas development assistance (ODA) with Pacific island country government systems, consistent with commitments under the Paris Declaration for Aid Effectiveness. The PPCR-PR policy analytical tools have been developed with development partner involvement and support in mind, especially for larger and more complex policy analysis applications. To this end, the tools are based on ‘best practice’ analytical methods that are commonly used by many development partners. They are flexible and adaptable so they can accommodate certain requirements (e.g. the use of certain monitoring formats). They are also well-suited to being used in a participatory and collaborative fashion so that the tools meet the needs of both Pacific island country governments and development partners.