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Australia's commitment to climate change action in Nauru

Australia is committed to helping the people of Nauru meet the challenge of climate change.

At the 2016 Pacific Islands Forum, Prime Minister Turnbull announced a climate change and disaster resilience support package to the Pacific of $300 million over four years. This is part of the $1 billion climate finance Australia pledged at the 2015 Paris climate change meeting to reduce emissions and build resilience in developing countries over five years.

Ship off the coast
Australia is working with the Nauru Government, the Asian Development Bank and the Green Climate Fund to help ensure Nauru's redeveloped port is resilient to the impacts of climate change

To take action on climate change Australia's focus is on climate research and information, building resilience to climate change and disasters, and increasing country capacity to respond to disaster events.

This support aligns with the Framework for Regional Development in the Pacific, endorsed by Pacific Island Forum leaders, which outlines an integrated approach to addressing climate change and disaster resilience. Australia also supports the objectives of Nauru's Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (RONAdapt).

Building climate resilience of essential infrastructure

Through the Essential Infrastructure Program, Australia, in cooperation with other donors, is helping to ensure that Nauru's economic infrastructure is resilient to the impacts of climate change. In the re-design and expansion of the Nauru hospital, additional drainage was added to help reduce the likelihood of flooding during extreme rainfall events (which are likely to increase in frequency and severity over time).

Planning for the development of Nauru's new port facility included a climate change risk assessment which guided the design process to ensure this critical piece of infrastructure will be resilient to rising sea levels and larger wind-driven waves.

Key risks and challenges

Nauru is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. While the most visible climate hazard in the Pacific, tropical cyclones, rarely affects Nauru, the country is highly susceptible to a range of other climate change-related challenges, including: intensifying drought and heat waves; coastal erosion, ocean acidification; sea level rise; wind-driven waves and king tides.

Currently all Nauruans live on the coast very near current sea level. All of the country's critical infrastructure is on the coast, including government buildings, police headquarters, the power station, water desalination plant, the hospital, and the airport, as well as schools and the majority of businesses. All key sectors are susceptible to climate change impacts.

The people of Nauru also have a high degree of resilience. They have built coping mechanisms and are starting to access sources of climate finance to support adaptation. However, climate change will erode community coping capacity, threaten growth and critical infrastructure, and undermine development gains.


Despite the risks and vulnerabilities, there are opportunities to increase Nauru's resilience to climate change. The country's national climate change policy, RONAdapt, provides a solid basis for enhanced action and integrating climate change risks and resilience into core sectors.

Australia will continue to support the government and people of Nauru to build climate resilience through collaboration and engagement with other actors, including with support through the development cooperation program.

Bilateral programs

Australia is providing an estimated $3.9 million in climate change support to Nauru from (2015-16 to 2017-18), focusing on economic infrastructure. Australia's Aid Investment Plan (2015‑2019) includes climate change resilience as a cross-cutting issue.

Work is ongoing to further integrate the risks of climate change and resilience building activities across all sectors.

Regional programs

Nauru benefits from Australia's regional climate change programs, which total over $50 million (2015-16 to 2017-18). Our programs work to:

  • Build capacity of national meteorology services and measure sea level rise through the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific
  • Improve access to and use of climate information for decision making and knowledge management through the iCLIM program, and
  • Provide technical support to integrate climate change across our bilateral programs.

Australia also provides support to Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), whose mandate includes addressing priority climate change issues.

These programs build on our long-term support for climate science in the Pacific.

Global programs

Nauru further benefits from Australian global humanitarian and disaster risk reduction programs. Australia has committed $5 million to the global Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS), which runs a project to strengthen the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre to provide services to all Pacific island countries.

Australia also contributes to global climate finance mechanisms, including the Green Climate Fund ($200 million committed over four years, from 2015) and the Global Environment Facility ($93 million committed from 2014-15 to 2017-18). These funds support a wide range of resilience building and emissions reduction projects in the Pacific region.

Australia uses its seat on the Green Climate Fund Board and the Global Environment Facility Council to streamline processes, highlight the climate change challenges and vulnerability of Pacific island countries and advocate for Pacific focused proposals.

Estimated sectoral split of bilateral climate change investments in Nauru (AUD millions)

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Last Updated: 10 October 2018
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