By Anish Chand
"External professional services" was the highest expenditure for the COP23 Presidency of Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama as revealed in the COP23 Trust Fund account report that was tabled in Parliament this week.
F$8,686,717 was used for this service.
External professional services are described as “presidency services” in the accounts. These included strategic advice, negotiations support, capacity building, logistical support, communication and documentation drafting.
Australia contributed the largest sum of money to the COP23 Trust Fund, of about F$9.16m.
As at October 2017, with total donations of F$25,010, 641 and with an expenditure of F$11,599,245, the Fund had a surplus balance of F$13,411,396.
Period of focus in the COP23 Trust Fund Account report were May to October 2017. Tabling of its financial results is required under the COP23 Trust Fund Act of 2017.
The report reveals the accounting firm of KPMG had seconded a senior accountant to be the Manager Finance of the COP23 Fund, a responsibility which now has been taken over by the Ministry of Economy.
In addition to Australia, other major donors to the Fund were the European Union (F$4.79m), Italy (F$2.36m), India (F$2.03) and New Zealand ($F$1.89).
The financial report also provided other breakdown of its F$12m expenditure.
F$1,733,284 was used for organising conferences. The Pre-COP meeting that was held in Nadi incurred an expense of F$1,319,085.
F$727,815 was used in travel expenses for seven events. The highest amount of $F309,129 was incurred for the 23rd Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). F$287,327 was used in travel for Bonn UNFCCC.
Funds for the national climate change week that was held Fiji wide was sourced from the COP23 Trust Fund to a tune of F$167,538.
F$108,148 was used to run the COP23 Secretariat in Suva.
The account also reveals that the UNFCCC funded some of the COP23 Presidency expenses which included travel, per-diems and accommodation for most of the Fijian delegation to UNFCC meetings.