Australia has been re-elected unanimously to lead the Green Climate Fund Board in 2017.  The Green Climate Fund is the world’s primary fund for addressing climate change in developing countries including those in our region. [/restrict]

As 2016 co-chair with South Africa we oversaw the first year of operation and increased the focus on climate finance needs in our region. Samoa and Australia jointly hosting the Board’s first Pacific meeting in Samoa this week, the largest climate financing meeting ever held in the Pacific.

The 15th meeting of the Board approved USD98 million for climate change initiatives in the Pacific including:

* USD$23 million to strengthen climate information in Vanuatu’s tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, water and fisheries sectors with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme;

*USD$58 million for integrated flood management in Samoa with the United Nations Development Programme; and

*An initial USD$17 million for the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Programme, which will begin with a project in the Cook Islands.

Green Climate Fund resources approved for the Pacific now total USD165 million, with further Pacific proposals expected to come before the Board in 2017.

Australia’s engagement with the Fund has been instrumental in gaining approval for major climate resilience investments in 2016, totalling USD$1.3 billion.  Australia looks forward to working with incoming co-chair Saudi Arabia in 2017.

The Australian Government has committed $200 million to the Green Climate Fund over 2015-18…..PACNEWS [/restrict]