Government forms partnership to combat climate change threatDeputy Prime Minister
The Government and The Pacific Community (SPC) have today announced a Pacific regional partnership focused on combatting the threat of climate change to tuna, the most economically significant natural resource in the Pacific.
“Climate change is a very real threat here and abroad, particularly in the Pacific. It’s a global challenge that’ll require global solidarity,” Deputy Prime Minister and Associate Foreign Affairs (Pacific) Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.
“We’re seeing communities in Aotearoa New Zealand grapple with the impending effects of climate change — a microcosm of what our Pacific region whānau are facing. We know that some of the greatest climate change issues we face are those that reach across national borders.
“While continuing to address immediate challenges here at home, we must also continue to look after our important regional relationships and take action now to combat climate change collectively.
“The impact of climate change on tuna is a regional concern and requires a collective and coordinated response. This Pacific regional partnership fund will provide critical support for Pacific countries to protect their economic futures through the preservation of their tuna fisheries.”
It is predicted the region could lose up to US$90 million per year by 2050 in government revenues — while some individual countries, particularly in Micronesia, face losing over 10 percent of their annual income.
“New Zealand supports Pacific-led solutions to shared challenges, and recognises the value of delivering these solutions through regional organisations, such as the SPC,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
“This tuna initiative reflects our approach to climate action in the region: we team up with regional agencies to support Pacific priorities, while at the same time encouraging others to commit finance to achieve even greater impact.
“We are very pleased to be in the company of other organisations such as the Green Climate Fund and Conservation International, which have signalled they will provide complementary support on this important issue.
“We are all facing the harsh reality of climate change, and New Zealand will continue to look out for our whānau in the Pacific, even as we address our own climate-related emergencies,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
New Zealand’s Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access partnership with the region’s leading scientific and technical agency, SPC, addressed one of our Blue Ocean Continent’s most critical challenges.
New Zealand’s NZ$25 million support for the Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access partnership comes from our international climate finance commitment for 2022–2025, announced in 2021.
Notes for editors:
SPC’s Director General Dr Stuart Minchin said (quotes attributable).
“The Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access partnership is the first step in developing a Pacific-owned advanced warning system to forecast, with cutting-edge accuracy, where tuna will move due to ocean warming.”
“It will support Pacific countries to proactively monitor and manage their fisheries, and pinpoint this climate change-induced tuna migration. It will also put Pacific Island nations at the forefront of fisheries monitoring, enabling them to negotiate ongoing access to this vital resource and build sustainable fishing industries for the region’s food security.”
- Tuna is the most significant renewable natural resource in the Pacific, and the revenues from tuna fishing and from fishing licences are critically important to many Pacific countries.
- Warming ocean waters are driving tuna to the east and south, in some cases beyond the exclusive economic zones of countries reliant on this fish.
- It is predicted the region could lose up to US$90 million per year by 2050 in government revenues — while some individual countries, particularly in Micronesia, face losing more than 10 percent of their annual income.
- The Climate Science for Ensuring Pacific Tuna Access project will be run by Pacific Community (SPC), the region’s leading science and technical agency and one of New Zealand’s key regional partners.
- The New Zealand Government is a proud partner and valued member of SPC (since 1949).
- The funding from New Zealand comes from the NZ$1.3 billion climate finance commitment for 2022–2025, announced in 2021.
- The allocation of this funding is guided by Tuia te Waka a Kiwa —New Zealand’s International Climate Finance Strategy. This sets out how New Zealand allocates this grant-based climate finance to developing countries.
- This funding will complement a planned Green Climate Fund (GCF) US$60 million project with SPC and Conservation International. The start of the two-year detailed design work for this project was announced by the GCF at COP27 in Egypt, in November 2022.