Australia’s commitment to strengthening climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific - Fiji
Australia is supporting Pacific governments, businesses and communities to strengthen climate change and disaster resilience. At the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum, Australia pledged to spend $500 million over five years to strengthen resilience in the Pacific from 2020. This builds on the commitment to spend $300 million over four years from 2016.
Australia is committed to working in partnership with the people of Fiji to increase climate change action and disaster resilience across the country. We are integrating climate change and disaster resilience across the aid program in Fiji, including in our education, private sector development and community-based programs.
- Climate change is making tropical cyclones stronger. Fiji and the region will experience more storms like 2016's Tropical Cyclone Winston, which caused more than a billion dollars in damage. Australia has helped Fiji prepare for future cyclones, including by ensuring school buildings are more resilient.
- Over the last 16 years, cyclones and floods have caused over $500 million in damages and losses to Fiji's agriculture sector. As climate change escalates, impacts may undermine the country's food security. Australia is supporting agriculture businesses to increase their understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation options.
- Storm surges and coastal flooding are projected to increase and grow stronger, forcing families and communities to rebuild damaged homes and businesses. Australia is helping women and men on low incomes afford disaster risk insurance so their homes and businesses are financially protected.
- Each year, on average, disasters cost Fiji around $100 million, or 2.6 percent of GDP, and cause loss of life, disruption to communities and damage critical infrastructure. Australia is increasing community resilience by building civil society organisations' capacity in disaster risk reduction.
With more than 70 percent of Fiji's population living in coastal and low-lying areas, the country is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Fiji is already prone to cyclones, storm surge, flooding and drought and these climate-related hazards are projected to worsen over time.
Australia has provided approximately $14.8 million in bilateral climate change and disaster resilience support to Fiji since 2016. This support is built into many programs, including the ones below.
- Through the Access to Quality Education Program, Australia provided $3.6 million to support reconstruction and longer-term recovery from Cyclone Winston, including rebuilding schools to withstand future extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.
- Through the Supporting Private Sector Development in Fiji program, Australia has provided $1.2 million to help women and men on low incomes afford disaster risk insurance so their homes and businesses are financially protected.
- Australia is helping ensure communities in Fiji are more prepared for disasters through the Fiji Program Support Facility's Preparedness and Response Facility, through which we have provided around $1 million to build civil society organisations' capacities in disaster risk reduction to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience to impacts of climate change.
- Australia has also provided direct support to the Fiji government to participate in global climate change action ($6 million, 2016-2017), such as supporting Fiji's chairing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations and related regional consultations.
Regional and global programs
Australia's regional programs are changing the way people manage the impacts of climate change and disasters. Under the Australia Pacific Climate Partnership, Australia's aid program is supporting Pacific island governments to build resilience and shift to low-carbon development by investing in climate-and-disaster-informed education, health, infrastructure, energy, and food and water security.
The Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific Phase 2 ($23.3 million, 2018-2022) works in Fiji with the National Meteorological Service to provide seasonal forecasts that help farmers plan for harvesting, and weather warnings to alert people about disasters.
The Pacific Resilience and Governance Program ($10 million, 2019-2022) supports governments across the region to include climate change and disaster risk factors in their planning, budgeting and implementation to ensure they are building resilience into government initiatives across a range of sectors.