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Australia’s commitment to strengthening climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific - Papua New Guinea

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 Papua New Guinea (PNG) to increase climate change action and disaster resilience across the country. We are integrating climate change and disaster resilience across the aid program in PNG, including in our economic and social infrastructure programs and via direct climate change support to key sectors.

  • Extreme rainfall, which is projected to worsen, has caused frequent floods and landslides, claiming lives and causing damage estimated in the millions to infrastructure every year. Australian support is helping increase the resilience of critical infrastructure across the country.
  • Rising temperatures and increasing humidity have led to mosquitos carrying malaria to spread the disease to formerly risk-free areas in the highlands. Australia is helping improve early warnings of disease outbreaks, like malaria, that may be exacerbated by climate change.
  • The 2018 earthquake in Hela Province caused 160 deaths and U$140 million worth of damage to roads, buildings and electricity lines. Australia is helping to make PNG's priority roads disaster resilient to ensure continued connectivity when hazard events occur.
  • As climate change impacts escalate, communities in PNG will require significant support to adapt. Australia is supporting NGOs and civil society organisations to develop local-level adaptation projects designed to build community resilience.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. With 80 percent of PNG's population living in rural and remote communities that rely on subsistence and small-scale commercial agriculture systems and fishing, the country is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards.

Australia's programs

Australia has provided approximately $107 million towards building climate change and disaster resilience across sectors in PNG since 2016. This support is built into many programs, including the ones below.

  • The Climate Resilient Green Growth Project ($6 million, 2018-2022), which is helping the PNG government, businesses and communities pursue climate resilient and low-carbon development pathways.
  • Under an NGO Climate Change Grants Program ($2 million, 2018-2020), Australia is supporting civil society organisations that are supporting PNG communities to increase their resilience to climate change and disasters.
  • Australia is supporting the PNG public sector to strengthen institutions and build skills related to climate change by placing an Australian climate change advisor in the PNG Climate Change and Development Authority to support policy development and bilateral links. Plus, in 2019, 26 PNG nationals from the public and private sector and civil society are undertaking a graduate certificate in climate change at the University of Queensland.
  • Through the Transport Sector Support Program, is helping to ensure the roads and bridges we help build are more resilient to extreme weather. This ensures Papua New Guineans have continued access to markets and can visit their families during times of disaster.
  • Through the Economic and Social Infrastructure Program, Australia is incorporating the use of renewables into its energy sector projects for both off-grid and on-grid electrification. This is helping PNG meet its carbon emissions targets.

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 PNG 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.

Last Updated: 14 October 2019
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