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Climate change


heading foldHow we are helping

Our funding for 2012/13

$172.07 million

Implementation of the revised 2013-14 budget is currently under discussion with partner governments and organisations.


Climate change is a fundamental challenge for developing countries. It has the potential to impede development and reverse progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Australia is providing support to developing countries to adapt to climate change, reduce their carbon emissions and pursue cleaner development.

Following the Government’s announcement on 17 December 2012 to reprioritise resources within the aid budget, the 2012–13 revised budget estimate for climate change activities is $172.07 million. The new budget estimate for climate change reflects a $28.7 million reduction to our global and bilateral programs including $2.64 million from the International Forest Carbon Initiative and $1.76 million from the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative.

While climate change funding has been affected by the recent budget reprioritisation, we still expect to meet our international fast start financing commitments. Our total climate change expenditure over the fast start period (2010–11 to 2012–13) is expected to exceed the $599 million fast start commitment.

Australia remains committed to helping vulnerable countries, particularly Least Developed Countries and small island developing states, to adapt to the impact of climate change. We will also build on work to reduce emissions from deforestation, pilot low emission development pathways and engage in key international development and environment forums.

Climate change results

Partner countries reduce the negative impacts of climate change (Adaptation)

Results 2011–12

In 2011–12, the Australian Government directly assisted 23 partner countries to reduce vulnerability to climate change through the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ICCAI).

An additional 54 countries have been assisted through regional and multilateral channels.

The department’s adaptation support focussed on establishing the policy, scientific and analytical basis for long-term action addressing the impacts of climate change on natural and socioeconomic systems and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Australian Aid funding supported the publication of 15 country-specific climate summaries for Pacific island countries and East Timor—this will provide the scientific foundation for considering critical vulnerabilities and adaptation options.

In Vietnam, the Australian Government in partnership with Germany’s aid agency (GIZ) completed a three- year project to improve the management of coastal environment. More than 4.5km of installed protective fences now improve the survival and growth rates of over 40 hectares of mangroves in Kien Giang’s coastal areas. New sustainable livelihood activities, such as growing salt tolerant crops, were introduced, increasing household income by between 50 and 150 per cent for 98 households. Resources on climate change, biodiversity and waste management have been incorporated into primary school curricula and are being used by 8,000 teachers in over 280 schools.

Australia has also supported the protection and upgrading of transport infrastructure such as roads and bridges that are vulnerable to extreme weather events in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

In Kiribati, sea walls were built to protect the main road and over 37,000 mangrove seedlings have been planted to help manage the impacts of coastal erosion and sea level rise. Improvements to the water supply have improved water security for over 1,200 people.

Australia also funded a further 15 non-governmental organisation (NGO) projects in the Asia Pacific to reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of local communities to the impacts of climate change. Projects include undertaking risk assessments with local communities, planning and capacity building, in sectors such as disaster risk reduction, agriculture and coastal resource management.

For further examples of our climate change adaptation results, see the pages of our key bilateral programs:

  • Indonesia
  • Pacific Islands
  • Vietnam

Or visit our multilateral partners’ websites:

Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) [external link]
Adaption Fund (AF) [external link]

Commitments 2012-13

In 2012-13 the Australian Government will work to achieve greater integration of climate change across the aid program, including through continuing efforts to build capacity across the aid program.

Australian aid will also assist Pacific island countries and regional and multilateral partners working in the Pacific use country profiles of future climate projections to assess climate vulnerability to enable climate resilient development planning.

Based on the success of the Kien Giang pilot project in Vietnam, Australia and Germany have entered into an expanded partnership across five provinces under the Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems Program. The Program will continue to support communities to develop actions to deal with a changing climate including rehabilitating mangrove forests, improving dyke construction, development of alternative and adapted income opportunities for communities dependent on coastal forests, and alternative and adapted farming practices.

The Australian Government will continue working with NGO partners in the Pacific, Vietnam, East Timor and the Philippines to build resilience of local communities to climate change, and to reduce emissions.

Minimise carbon emissions through technological and regulatory support (mitigation—low carbon development)

Results 2011-12

Contributed to significant emissions reduction efforts in 22 developing countries, helped to prepare 40 developing countries for future emissions reduction activities, and contributed to regional and global emissions reduction efforts.

Directly assisted three key developing countries—Indonesia, South Africa, and Vietnam—to undertake low-carbon development.

Focussed on supporting key multilateral partners—the Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) ($10 million) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) ($5 million)—to build the capacity of developing countries to participate in carbon markets and prepare strategies that help grow sustainable, green economies.

Supported five low-income countries to increase energy access through our $9.1 million contribution to the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) Scaling- up Renewable Energy Program.

Continued to support 15 countries to develop clean technology investment plans through our multi-year $100 million contribution to the CIF’s global Clean Technology Fund.

Worked, including through key role as Co-Chair, to design the Green Climate Fund which has the potential to become the largest global fund supporting action on climate change in developing countries.

Commitments 2012-13

Support developing countries to create new economic opportunities that increase energy access through the uptake of renewable energy with the remaining contribution of Australia’s $10 million commitment to the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP).

Support the GGGI to deliver support for developing countries preparing sustainable growth plans.

Engage in the ongoing design and operationalisation process for the Green Climate Fund through Australia’s membership on the board.

Implementation of appliance energy efficiency standards program across the Pacific and energy efficiency lighting standards harmonisation across Asia.

Partner countries reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (Mitigation – REDD+)

Results 2011-12

With the help of Australia’s $12 million contribution to the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in 2011–12, seven countries have signed grant agreements to assist in the development of strategies for reducing emissions from their forest sector.

Through the World Bank Forest Investment Program, four countries have submitted and received in-principle endorsement for Investment Plans, with Mexico receiving grants and concessional loans of US$42 million for its Mexico Forests and Climate Change Project.

As part of a REDD+ demonstration project in Central Kalimantan formal village agreements have been finalised in seven villages and incentive payments have been made to communities for environmental work. More than 1.2 million seedlings raised in 35 community based nurseries were planted in the project area.

Together with partners in the Indonesian Government land cover change maps for Kalimantan for the period 2000 to 2009 have been generated in preparation for the establishment of an Indonesian Carbon Accounting System. In addition, Indonesian Officials were trained in carbon accounting and reporting models.

Established an NGO Partnership in PNG to help develop REDD+ policies and mechanisms.

The Centre For International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has completed comparative analysis of REDD+ initiatives in nine countries and published and widely disseminated a comprehensive book, describing the progress, challenges and opportunities for REDD+.

Commitments 2012-13

Support the Energising Development Partnership implemented by GIZ to promote sustainable markets for clean cook stoves in up to six developing countries. This initiative will promote sustainable economic development opportunities for local communities and help to address a driver of deforestation and forest degradation.

Assist four Asia-Pacific countries to build capacity to implement timber legality verification systems.

Three additional countries sign grant agreements to assist in the development of strategies for reducing emissions from their forest sector under the FCPF.

A new research partnership with the Centre for International Forestry Research will be in place and produce high-quality research to analyse and assess efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+). The partnership will investigate and disseminate approaches to REDD+ that reduce poverty and protect local livelihoods.

An Australian Government partnership with the Government of Kenya will design and start to implements a land management and carbon accounting system, which will help the people of Kenya to manage land resources and participate in carbon markets.

Research overview

The Australian Government is supporting a range of climate change research initiatives on adaptation, climate finance and forestry by partnering with key international and Australian institutions.

Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) Program

The Australian Government is investing $32 million in the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) program as part of Australia’s comprehensive support for climate change in the Pacific under the $328.3 million International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. Delivered from July 2011 to June 2013 PACCSAP aims to build capacity within countries and the region to effectively adapt to climate change. To achieve this aim, PACCSAP is undertaking three interrelated streams of work including research to help meet high priority climate change adaptation needs.

The focus of the research component is to improve our scientific understanding of climate change in the Pacific across four main areas:

  • Past climate change and short-term predictions—research into how the climate in the Pacific has changed and enhancing this understanding with a customised database management system and web tools.
  • Climate variability and large-scale climate features—enhancing knowledge of natural phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation that cause significant natural variability in the climate of the Pacific.
  • Future climate of the Pacific—providing new climate projections, particularly for extreme events, and access to them via a user-friendly web tool, found at
  • Oceans in a changing climate—researching sea level rise, ocean acidification and the impacts of climate change on coral. With so many livelihoods in the Pacific dependent on the ocean, this along with the new climate projections will form a critical research component of the program.

The other two streams of work focus on building awareness of climate science, impacts and adaptation options; and on improving adaptation planning.

The Program builds on two former programs, the Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP) and the Pacific Adaptation Strategy Assistance Program (PASAP). Partners in delivering key aspects of PACCSAP include:

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Community
  • World Bank
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

For more information visit the PACCSAP [external link] website.

CSIRO Alliance—Horizon two research for development

This strategic research partnership brings together the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)'s research skills with Australian Aid's development expertise. $12.8 million is supporting the Alliance from 2008 to 2013 for research work in areas including climate adaptation, water resources, sustainable cities and energy. Projects are being conducted in the Greater Mekong Region, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia. One of the projects in Vietnam is refining climate models to improve weather forecasting and increase food production.

For more information visit the CSIRO Alliance [external link] website.

Centre for International Forestry Research

The department has recently established a $10 million partnership with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which is a non-profit global research centre working on forest management in less-developed countries. The partnership will support research and outreach work to influence policy development in the field of REDD+—reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. The partnership will produce best-practice research to improve the measurement and management of carbon contained in forests. CIFOR is also working on comparing approaches to REDD+ to identify ways of working that are effective and equitable and that deliver benefits to forest communities. Under the partnership CIFOR will also disseminate knowledge, build capacity and strengthen networks of those involved in REDD+ and forest management. A previous phase of the partnership has already produced high quality research as part of the Global Comparative Study—which involves work in 11 countries to identify what works in REDD+. The Global Comparative Study has so far produced full analyses in nine countries.

For more information visit the CIFOR [external link] website.

World Resources Institute

Australia’s $75,000 grant provides funding for the World Resources Institute's work on international climate finance, particularly researching effective governance of international climate finance that supports results and country driven approaches.

For more information visit the World Resources Institute [external link] website.


heading foldWhy we give aid


Climate change is a fundamental challenge for developing countries. It has the potential to undermine development and reverse progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Many people in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts because they depend on the natural environment for their income, food and water and lack the capacity to respond to climate and weather related disasters such as floods and droughts. Our assistance contributes to sustainable economic development by reducing the impact of climate change on social and economic and environmental systems and by supporting countries mitigate against climate change through planning and implementing cleaner growth pathways.

Find out more about why we support climate change


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia’s $599 million climate change funding commitment over the fast-start period (2010–11 to 2012–13) supports developing countries to manage the negative impacts of climate change and to pursue low carbon development options. This funding will benefit the most vulnerable regions including small island developing states, least developed countries and Africa.

Find out how we support climate change


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

MDG 7 Environmental Sustainability, including water and sanitation

While climate change falls under MDG 7, it is a cross-cutting issue that impacts all MDGs.

Globally, there is a strong and growing recognition that addressing the causes and affects of climate change and other environmental impacts are key development concerns. The issues of climate change can erode past development gains, and risk current and future livelihoods of the poorest communities in the world. It has the potential to increase hunger and poverty (MDG 1), threaten the achievement of universal education (MDG 2) and undermine gender equality (MDG 3) and the achievement of health outcomes under MDGs 4, 5 and 6. For more details on the link between climate change and development, see our why we give aid page.


Last reviewed: 1 November, 2013