The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) welcomes the Australian Government’s intention to play a constructive and active role in the Pacific, as reflected by the Prime Minister’s remarks at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting at Rarotonga today.
The sector also welcomes the announcement of $16.9 million for a Tuvaluan coastal adaptation project. It is important to note that this funding is from Australia’s existing Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget.
To effectively meet the needs of the Pacific, funding for climate must be new and additional, otherwise risks falling short.
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcements today,” said ACFID CEO, Marc Purcell.
“However if Australia doesn’t take further action to reduce our own emissions, fossil fuel subsidies as well as look at the impact of fossil fuel exports, Australia risks receiving criticism at future COP meetings saying that we only offer band-aid solutions,” said Mr Purcell.
ACFID welcomes the Albanese Government’s intention to work with the wider Pacific community in funding climate finance mechanisms including the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF). The development sector eagerly awaits further details of these contributions, including new funding.
The PRF is a PIF-initiated regional financing facility with a goal of $US1.5 billion, aimed at building Pacific resilience against increasingly severe natural disasters and ongoing climate change threats.
The GCF was set up within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and is aimed at helping developing countries in managing climate change.
The contributions are a step towards the Government’s stated intent of delivering $3 billion towards global climate finance by 2025, as articulated by Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy in the 2023 Alfred Deakin Oration.
ACFID looks forward to further funding announcements that will bring us closer to this $3 billion contribution by 2025. Noting that Australia’s ‘fair share’ contribution towards climate finance has been calculated by the sector to be $4 billion annually, there is some way to go.
“We welcome the Government’s intent to contribute to these specific funds as it is something we have been calling for since 2019. We look forward to seeing further details, including funding amounts. Australia’s funding for climate finance must be new and additional,” said Mr Purcell.
“The announcement shows the Australian Government is prioritising Pacific-led initiatives, as reflected in the New International Development Policy,” said Jessica Mackenzie, ACFID’s Chief of Policy.
The Government also announced a new visa stream for Tuvaluans, which is commendable, albeit small.
However it is important to note that underlying causes of climate change are the drivers of climate migration, and fossil fuel use and exports continue to exacerbate climate risk. If Australia fails to phase out fossil fuel use and exports, visas for the Pacific may only be a band-aid solution for the risks in years ahead.
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