The new Australian Government is listening and engaging with the Pacific on the critical issue of climate change, and playing a positive and constructive role internationally.
Pacific island countries have welcomed Australia’s new approach at the UN climate summit COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, attended this week by Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy.
Mr Conroy met ten Pacific leaders, ministers, heads of regional organizations and other representatives, including Prime Ministers from the Cook Islands and Tonga and the President of Palau, as well as the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna.
“Australia is taking a new refreshed approach to its relationship with the Pacific, and it’s reinforcing that, not just with words, but also with some real solid action,” Mr Puna said.
United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, told a roundtable at the summit that the new Australian Government is ‘a breath of fresh air,’ on climate policy.
Glasgow COP26 President and UK Conservative MP, Alok Sharma, also praised Australia at a Blue Pacific event hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“We now have in Australia, a Government that is back on the front line of the fight against climate change, and I want us to cheer that right now,” Mr. Sharma said, which was followed by applause.
Australia and the Pacific are preparing to bid to co-host COP31 in 2026.
Mr Conroy announced measures to strengthen climate resilience in the region and raise the profile of Pacific voices.
Through this package, Pacific climate negotiators are being supported to build their skills and be better resourced to enhance their ability to engage effectively, and Pacific women are being empowered to take part in international climate negotiations. Australia is contributing to a small grants program, which supports community-based adaptation
programs across the Pacific and Southeast Asia. And, additional funding is being provided to a regional hub, which is working to support the Pacific’s transition to a low carbon development pathway.
“The Australian Government is pleased to provide this support to the Pacific family to strengthen capacity to engage in international processes, critical to the fight against climate change,” Mr Conroy said.
“The Pacific Islands Forum has declared that climate change is the number one security threat to Pacific countries and the new Australian Government as a member of the Pacific family is taking the challenge seriously.”
“For too long the world has talked at the Pacific not with the Pacific. The new Australian Government is listening and working with Pacific Island countries to elevate their views on the global stage.”