Supporting climate action in the Pacific
A new strategy to drive investment in climate action in the Pacific and globally outlines how decisions will be made for spending the record $1.3 billion commitment for mitigation and adaptation.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Climate Change have released the Aotearoa New Zealand International Climate Finance Strategy, Tuia te Waka a Kiwa, which sets out the approach to deliver the scaled-up climate finance commitment made last year.
Nanaia Mahuta travelled to Nuku’alofa to launch the Strategy, and to also announce the first investment in Tonga from the new climate finance.
“The International Climate Finance Strategy spells out how Aotearoa New Zealand will put its investments to work in practical terms, to support Pacific partners and whānau to build resilience and deal with the number one security threat in the region,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“The high-level principles for investing in climate action reflect a focus on partnership; achieving a collective impact to make a difference globally; bringing a long-term perspective; and linking with like-minded partners, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The Strategy has four key goals: to enhance resilience and adaptation; promote quicker action on mitigation; improve information to allow evidence-based decisions; and leverage our investments to make greater impact.
“We recognise the importance of local solutions. Many communities have been adapting to changes in their environment for decades. Aotearoa New Zealand will support indigenous-led approaches and work with communities to recognise their history, culture and expertise as central to effectively responding to climate change.
“This is how Aotearoa New Zealand can have a Pacific focus, as well as a global impact,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw says the new Strategy underlines Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to climate action in the Pacific.
“Aotearoa stands with the Pacific in the fight against climate change. That is why, when we quadrupled our climate finance commitment to $1.3 billion last year, we specified that at least half of that money would go to the Pacific.
“The International Climate Finance Strategy sets out how that record funding will be deployed to best effect. In particular, it will ensure the assistance we provide helps countries and communities to build climate resilience on their own terms.
“Our Pacific Island neighbours are amongst the most at risk from sea level rise, storms and warming oceans, which are all symptoms of the climate crisis. Yet they bear very little responsibility for causing the climate crisis in the first place. The strategy we are announcing today will help build to a resilient, prosperous future for Pacific Islands,” said James Shaw.
Nanaia Mahuta also announced a new investment of NZ$8 million from the climate finance commitment into Tonga’s Climate Change Fund. Tonga established the Fund to receive and direct investments towards mitigation and adaptation projects.
Potential investments will be identified and prioritised by Tonga itself. They could potentially include examples such as:
- strengthening the resilience of public infrastructure, such as water resources, flood management and climate resilient transport systems;
- enhancing coastal protection around Nuku’alofa and outer islands;
- reducing reliance on fossil fuels and strengthening the resilience of Tonga’s renewable energy infrastructure;
- building community resilience to natural disasters;
- providing opportunities for communities to access climate resilience funding; and
- developing sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and protection for biodiversity in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
“As a country in and of the Blue Pacific Continent, we are committed to support the Pacific Island Forum to help amplify the voice of the Pacific and promote resilience. Leaders at last month’s Forum reaffirmed climate change as the single greatest security threat with the adoption of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
Previous climate finance initiatives in the Pacific from the 2022-25 commitment include:
- $15 million announced by the Prime Minister during a visit to Samoa, to support the delivery of Samoa’s climate change priorities. This will help build Samoa’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and its transition to a low emissions economy.
- $10 million announced by the Prime Minister during a visit to Fiji, for crop resilience and food security in the face of extreme weather events.
- $500,000 to Niue announced by the Foreign Minister during this week’s visit, to complete the design and planning of renewable energy projects. Niue has a target of 80% renewable electricity generation.