New Zealand commits $300 million to boosting the Pacific region’s resilience, and its collective response to the climate crisis

In the previous issue of REVITALIZATION, we had an article announcing Australia‘s $500 million commitment to bolstering climate resilience among its Pacific island neighbors.

Now, much-smaller New Zealand has done likewise with a $300 million commitment to boosting the Pacific region’s resilience, and its collective response to the global climate crisis.

Whenever I meet with those who live on Pacific Islands, climate change is top of their agenda,” said New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, from the nation’s capital in Wellington. “That’s why we’ve been working with our Pacific neighbours to support climate adaption and mitigation such as building a desalination plant for water security in Kiribati, mapping out a coastal risk study and plan for Tokelau, helping to improve the management of marine fisheries in Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati, and creating an electricity roadmap with the Marshall Islands.

To help deliver on New Zealand’s $300 million global commitment to climate change-related development assistance, $150 million has now been dedicated to a Pacific programme to bolster New Zealand’s climate change support in the region,” she added. “We expect the Pacific to ultimately receive two thirds of the overall fund and today we begin to deliver this with a ring-fenced allocation exclusively for the benefit of the Pacific.

The $150 million practical package of support includes:

  • Providing infrastructure such as water tanks, along with better tools and training to manage droughts, floods and coastal inundation;
  • Further climate hazard mapping and risk planning;
  • Customized climate information that will support priority sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health and infrastructure;
  • More projects to get rid of invasive species that threaten food security. This will boost the resilience of key crops that are also vulnerable to increasingly unpredictable weather driven by climate change;
  • Improving access to international climate finance through technical assistance; and
  • $5.6m to Tuvalu-specific climate resilience projects, the first of which will be a water storage facility on the island of Vaitupu, along with renewable energy and drought modelling support.

Pacific people have made it clear they want to stay where they are and defend their homes and livelihoods against climate change, and we will support them in this.  New Zealand is among the first in the world to commit to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius because it is what’s needed to save our towns, cities and productive sectors from the worst effects of climate change,” Ardern said.

A selection of NZ-supported climate projects under way in the Pacific:

  • Solar generation plant in Nauru ($4m);
  • Electricity Roadmap to decarbonise the sector in the Marshall Islands ($1m);
  • Pacific Climate Change Centre in Samoa ($3.5m);
  • Pacific voice amplification to showcase climate action ($4m);
  • Climate hazard mapping and risk planning across the Pacific ($5m); and
  • Increasing renewable energy generation in Niue (from 13% to 40% currently).

We also did this because it is what’s necessary to prevent our Pacific neighbours like Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands being put at significant risk of devastating impacts linked to climate change,” Ardern explained. “We are in and of the Pacific and with other Pacific leaders I acknowledged the security threat of climate change to our Pacific neighbourhood under the Boe Declaration. This was a significant move towards collective action on climate change and I’m proud New Zealand stands with our Pacific neighbours to deliver ongoing practical support.

The catastrophic cost of doing nothing to tackle climate change is no longer an option,” she concluded.

Photo of Wellington, New Zealand via Adobe Stock.

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