Climate change in the Pacific
At the 2010 Pacific Islands Forum in Port Vila, Pacific leaders reaffirmed that climate change remains the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific. Many island countries already face climate risks such as cyclones, sea-level changes, droughts and environment-related health issues.
Climate change will increase vulnerability and affect all major development sectors. It is likely to exacerbate the effects of natural disasters, increase the spread of disease, lower agricultural productivity, change marine environments and increase the cost of infrastructure such roads and bridges. Coastal zones, where many islanders live, will be particularly vulnerable.
In 2010 Pacific Leaders endorsed a set of principles to promote a more effective response to climate change. Australia strongly supported the adoption of these principles which will help guide our climate change assistance to the region.
The Australian Government's
International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative is working closely with Pacific Island countries. It will build capacity to plan and implement adaptation strategies and undertake priority adaptation projects. Australia provides practical support both through community-based programs and through larger programs of assistance developed in partnership with Pacific Governments.
Support provided to the region to address climate change includes:
- Australia has helped the Government of Tuvalu’s Public Works Department to supervise the construction of 600 large rainwater tanks for homes in the capital, Funafuti. Rooves and gutters are repaired and households use the collected clean water for domestic use. The project will allow the collection of about 9 million extra litres of good quality water per year, reducing the need to use a diesel fuelled desalination plant
- Australian aid is integrating climate change adaptation measures into Vanuatu’s transport infrastructure sector. Physical adaptation measures include relocation and realignment of sections of highly vulnerable roads, upgrading river and stream crossings, raising roads in low lying areas, upgrading drainage infrastructure and improving erosion protection
- With Australian support, the University of the South Pacific in Suva is working with rural communities to help them reduce their vulnerability to climate change. Rainwater tanks, guttering and pumps have been installed to improve water supply; and tough grasses and mangroves have been planted to protect river banks and shore lines from erosion.
Australia is also working with our Pacific partners to
monitor and plan for changes in sea level [external website], and enhance the
capacity of national meteorological services [external website] to interpret and use weather and climate data.
Environment and climate change in the Australia aid program