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

Climate change and disaster impacts 

Australia is committed to working in partnership with the Government of Tuvalu to meet the needs and aspirations of its people to build resilience to climate change and disaster events. 

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. Tuvalu is susceptible to a range of challenges that will be exacerbated by climate change, such as more severe and longer-lasting droughts and heat waves, coastal erosion, increased acidity of ocean waters, sea level rise, wind-driven waves and king tides.

  • As climate change impacts intensify, Tuvalu will need international support to implement its Long-Term Adaption Plan to help protect the lives, livelihoods and culture of Tuvaluans. Australia is partnering with Tuvalu, under the UN Secretary General's Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator (APA) initiative, to advance the Long-Term Adaptation Plan. The APA initiative aims to pioneer a new collaborative model for accelerating investment for adaptation in developing countries at pace and at scale.
  • Tuvalu will experience more intense cyclones, like 2020's Tropical Cyclone Tino, which destroyed homes and crops, and affected 50 per cent of the population. Australia is working with the Government of Tuvalu through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) to ensure that critical infrastructure is climate resilient.  Australia also works closely with Tuvalu's National Disaster Management Office and has supported a Disaster Risk Management and Response Coordinator position through the Australia Assists Program.
  • Tuvalu's soils only support a narrow range of crops. Erosion and drought have already damaged taro crops on Funafuti, leaving people with fewer options for growing food and earning income. Innovative solutions, like vertical gardens, are being explored to help overcome these challenges. 

Bilateral programs 

Australia integrates climate and disaster resilience through its bilateral development assistance to Tuvalu across all areas of programming including in the infrastructure, education, and governance sectors. Climate action is a central focus of Australia's development partnership with Tuvalu with key investments provided for drought resilience and water security, as well as climate change adaptation.

  • At the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in November 2023, Prime Minister Albanese announced an additional contribution of $16.9 million for the next phase of the Tuvalu Coastal Adaption Project (TCAP). This follows an initial contribution of $2 million in May 2023. TCAP will expand land in Funafuti by around six per cent and will help address issues of overcrowding and limited space for key infrastructure. This safe land is critical to protect the lives, livelihoods and culture of Tuvaluans in the face of climate change
  • Australia has provided $825,000 in drought support to Tuvalu, which included delivery of mobile desalination consumables and equipment for water purification and storage. It also included support to UNICEF to deliver water and sanitation (WASH) activities through a local provider, Live and Learn.
  • The Funafuti Classroom Building Project ($100,000 in climate change and disaster finance as part of $4.1 million project, 2015-2020) built classrooms that can withstand increasingly strong cyclones. The classrooms are also accessible to all and have WASH facilities that meet the needs of women and girls. 
  • With Australia's support the Government of Tuvalu is undertaking 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. 
  • The Tuvalu Food Futures Project Phase 1 ($800,000, 2019-2020), established food gardens in partnership with Live & Learn using Foodcube technology to improve long-term food security in Tuvalu. This project provided critical food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 2 of the project ($1.7 million, 2020-2021) expanded the work to two outer islands (Nukufetau and Nukulaelae) and provided additional Foodcubes for Funafuti. 

Regional programs 

Tuvalu benefits from a range of regional and globally funded climate change investments working directly to build climate change and disaster resilience in Tuvalu and across the region, including: 

  • The Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific Phase 3 (COSPPac3) (Australian contribution $30 million, 2023-29) supports the Tuvalu Meteorological Service to provide climate and ocean monitoring and prediction services. Climate predictions help farmers plan for planting and harvesting, and to prepare for disasters like droughts and tropical cyclones. Ocean predictions (tide, currents, wind and waves) support fishing, tourism and shipping.
  • The Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (Gov4Res) ($7.9 million, 2019-2023) supports governments across the region to include climate change and disaster risk factors in their planning, budgeting and implementation. The program supports Tuvalu's Ministry of Finance and Economic Development with the national priority of developing more climate resilient infrastructure and development.  
  • The Pacific Women Lead ($96.4 million 2021- 2026) is supporting Tuvaluan women's leadership in climate action and disaster resilience, through women's rights, safety, and economic empowerment.
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