Overview of Australia's assistance for climate change

Australia is working to find practical solutions to the climate challenge. We are working with countries in the region to manage natural resources, respond to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters and find pathways to sustainable economic growth.

Why we give aid

Australia’s aid program helps to improve living standards by promoting sustainable economic growth. Natural resources are a fundamental building block of economic development—but the environment is under increasing pressure to support growing populations. At the same time, emerging threats such as climate change are increasing the risks to communities in developing countries, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised. Without intervention, the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation will erode and reverse development gains, and jeopardise the livelihoods of poor people.

How we give aid

Australia works with countries in the region to build resilience to climate-related shocks and manage the impacts of climate change. In the Pacific the Climate and Oceans Support Program is helping fourteen Pacific national meteorological services make seasonal forecasts and use climate science to make information accessible and useful to their governments and communities and support planning in sectors including agriculture, water security and health. The Pacific Risk Resilience Program, working initially in four countries: Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu; adopts a multi-country approach to strengthening risk governance at national, sub-national and community level across key sectors like finance and planning, education, and food security.

At the global level, Australia has pledged $200 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to support developing countries to grow their economies in a sustainable way and help them adapt to climate change. The GCF will leverage private sector investment and support a range of emission reduction and adaptation projects with broader economic and environmental benefits. Australia is an active member of the GCF Board and uses its seat to advocate the interests of our region, and to promote effective governance.

More information about the Green Climate Fund

We also work with our developing country partners to improve their living standards through a cleaner growth trajectory. Australia assists partner countries to achieve resource efficiency in the use of food, energy and water.

Through Community-based Climate Change Action Grants, Australia is working with non-government organisations to assist communities in the Pacific and South-East Asia to address climate change and development needs at the community level. For example, in Timor-Leste, DFAT is working with Care Australia and other partners to build the resilience of vulnerable households to the impacts of climate change. Under this project, water sources have been protected and Community Water User Groups have taken on the role of operation and maintenance of their water systems. These User Groups have also helped hundreds of households to build their own toilets and hand-washing facilities.

By integrating climate considerations into our investments, we ensure development impacts are lasting. We do this through climate risk screening, by climate-proofing new investments and by designing programs to ensure development outcomes are attained even under changing climatic conditions. We also implement mandatory safeguards to ensure that we protect the environment when delivering the aid program overseas. For more information on these safeguards, see Environmental protection.


A coastal scene
Many of Australia’s development partners in the Indo-Pacific region are involved in climate change activities.