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Australia’s commitment to strengthening climate and disaster resilience in the Pacific - Tuvalu

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 Tuvalu to increase climate change action and disaster resilience across the country. We are integrating climate change and disaster resilience across the aid program in Tuvalu, including in our social infrastructure and policy development programs.

  • Due to climate change, Tuvalu and the region will experience more strong storms like 2015's Tropical Cyclone Pam, which destroyed homes and crops, and displaced 45 percent of the population. Australia is ensuring that critical social infrastructure, like schools, can withstand increasingly strong cyclones and can act as shelters in times of need.
  • Tuvalu's soils only support a narrow range of crops. Erosion and drought have already damaged taro crops on Funafuti, leaving people with less options for growing food and reduced income. Australia is supporting innovative solutions, like vertical gardens, to help overcome these challenges.
  • As climate change impacts escalate, Tuvalu will require significant external support to implement priority adaptation actions, like protecting coastal zones and safeguarding water supplies. Australia is helping build the capacity of the Tuvalu Government to access and effectively utilise global climate finance.
  • Tuvalu is highly prone to disasters, which will escalate as climate change impacts get worse. Cyclone Pam caused damages around US$10 million, over a third of the country's GDP. Australia is helping Tuvalu prepare for a more hazard-prone future by supporting the integration of climate change and resilience building into the country's policy and planning agenda, including the National Constitution.

Tuvalu's island group sits less than five metres above sea level, making it the world's second lowest-lying country, and highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The country is susceptible to a range of challenges that will be made worse by climate change, such as stronger and longer-lasting droughts and heat waves, coastal erosion, increased acidity of ocean waters, sea level rise, wind-driven waves and king tides.

Australia's programs

Australia has provided approximately $2 million in bilateral climate change and disaster resilience support to Tuvalu since 2016. This support is built into many programs, including the ones below.

Australia supports the Funafuti Classroom Building Project ($4 million, 2015-2020), which build schoolrooms that can withstand increasingly strong cyclones.

  • Through the Constitutional Review Project ($0.9 million, 2016-2019) Australia is helping the Tuvalu Government to include responses to climate change in the National Constitution and to build their capacity to access and use international climate finance.
  • Australia is supporting the Government of Tuvalu to undertake significant economic reforms in fiscal sustainability and public financial management. These reforms aim to improve the transparency and accountability of government services and are a step toward strengthening economic resilience against climate shocks.
  • Through the Tuvalu Foodwall Project, Australia supported BioFilta, an Australian sustainability company, to work with Tuvalu civil society organisation, Growing Tall, to develop and roll out vertical gardens in Funafuti to help increase food security in a changing climate.

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 Tuvalu 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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