Australia’s commitment to strengthening climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific - Solomon Islands
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 Solomon Islands to increase climate change action and disaster resilience across the country. We are integrating climate change and disaster resilience across the aid program in Solomon Islands, including in our social and economic infrastructure, market development and gender programs.
- Climate change is making tropical cyclones stronger. In Solomon Islands, cyclones cause severe flooding leading to loss of life and damage to critical infrastructure. Australia is helping ensure that social infrastructure, like the Gizo Market, is resilient to the impacts of climate change.
- The 2015 El Niño-related drought disrupted food and water supplies in parts of the country for months, impacting communities recovering from previous floods and cyclones. Climate change is intensifying El Niño conditions that create drought events. Australia is working with cocoa farmers to help increase the resilience of the sector.
- The annual loss due to earthquakes and tropical cyclones in Solomon Islands is estimated at around US$20 million. Losses are likely to increase as climate change impacts intensify. Australia helps increase disaster resilience by supporting non-government and civil society organisations implement disaster risk reduction actions at the local level.
- Women and men with and without a disability experience the impacts of climate change and disasters in different ways. Often, the capacities and needs of marginalised groups are not taken into account in the development of resilience building activities. To address this, Australia is helping build gender responsive disaster risk reduction capacity in Solomon Islands.
Solomon Islands is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change and disasters. Cyclones and storms strike often, causing severe flooding. Drought is also a serious threat. With over 80% of the population living in low-lying coastal areas, storm surge, king tides and sea level rise present significant challenges.
Australia has provided approximately $39.6 million in bilateral climate change and disaster resilience support to Solomon Islands since 2016. This support is built into many programs, including the ones below.
- Australia is co-funding the Tina River Hydropower project to provide lower and more predicable electricity costs for businesses and households. Australia is providing $18.4 million (2017-2024) to contribute to the access road to the dam site and power station, and to support the Tina River Project Office. The project will meet 100% of Solomon Islands emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement.
- Australia provided $3.5 million for the redevelopment of the Gizo Market. The new market includes climate resilient features, such as reinforced beams, which will help the structure withstand wind speeds of a Category 5 cyclone. The site has also been raised above 2055 sea level rise projections.
- The Strongim Bisnis program ($14 million, 2017-2020) supports growth and resilience in the cocoa, coconut and tourism sectors. It has already connected a women's savings club, West AreAre Rokotanikeni Association (WARA), with a solar panel supplier, SunPower. WARA members can sell solar panels to others, providing income for female rural entrepreneurs and a renewable source of electricity for communities across Solomon Islands.
- The Gender Inequality of Risk program has committed $2 million over three years (2019-2021) to address the high and unequal exposure of women and girls to disasters and climate change by building community resilience and increasing understanding of adaptation options.
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 Solomon Islands 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.