NZ favours Pacific neighbours in substantial increase in climate change aid


The New Zealand Government says it will quadruple overseas aid to help poorer countries deal with climate change.

The allocation has been increased to $1.3 billion.

The Government says the increase in overseas aid means that New Zealand will now be paying its fair share towards global climate funding. It is part of a global commitment of $100b to help the developing world.

Some of the money will be used in partner projects around the world, as well as multilateral institutions like the Green Climate Fund which was set up under the auspices of the UN.

The Government is targeting about half the money towards climate mitigation efforts in the Pacific.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says it will be administered as part of New Zealand’s aid programme.

“The rest of it will go through a variety of projects.” These projects will be prioritised on the basis of need.

He says New Zealand would be guided by Pacific Islands’ governments on where the climate aid is best directed.

The Pacific Forum’s secretary-general, Henry Puna, is heartened by the level of support New Zealand is providing.

“I’m totally ecstatic on behalf of the region at the New Zealand announcement,” he says.

In his view, it augurs well as world leaders get ready for the UN’s Climate Change Conference (called COP26) in Glasgow later this month.

At the same time, he says while he’s delighted with New Zealand’s increased contribution, “urgent ambitious climate action and finance are the two hinges open on a net zero, 1.5 degree future. But time is running out.”

He says he hopes all developed countries will finally fulfill their Paris-made funding commitments, but have largely failed to meet.

Shaw hopes the aid announcement can help repair some of the frayed consensus around the Paris Agreement.

New Zealand committed to making finance of this sort available when it signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, he points out.

He agrees, however: “… the fact is that the developed world has not delivered on that commitment to collectively mobilise US$100-billion a year (in annual climate finance).”

“That has led to a suspicion and a breakdown in relationships between the wealthier countries of the world, of which New Zealand is one, and the other countries.”

The Pacific Islands region’s representatives would be going to COP26 in hopeful but resolute mode.

“But we’re certainly going there with full determination to try and talk to developed countries to support the commitments that we already made in 2015 in Paris.”

At present, climate change concerns within the Pacific Region have seen:

The Fijian prime minister asking the NZ for help to move 42 villages further inland, away from rising waves.

Tokelau and Kiribati having no further inland that they can go to, “They must adapt to the massive changes that are upon them,” says Shaw.

The Cook Islands estimating about 25 percent of their annual budget is spent on climate-related costs.

The New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, says New Zealand could help more.

“Where all OECD countries target 0.7 percent of GDP, Zealand is about 0.27 percent – an annual shortfall of 1.2 billion dollars.”


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