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 will spend approximately $200 million on climate change in 2017–18, with investments across country, regional and global programs. Australia has committed $1 billion over five years to address climate change challenges.

The impacts of global warming are already being felt and many of Australia's neighbours in the Indo-Pacific are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A substantial proportion of our climate change funding will flow to these countries, including $300 million to Pacific countries over four years (2016-2020) to help them build climate resilience, reduce emissions, and support implementation of commitments under the Paris Agreement, including on adaptation and mitigation.

Australia's funding will build on existing investments that support effective, evidence-based adaptation and that strengthen governance across key sectors, including finance, infrastructure, planning, education, water and food security. Australia's support will also build the capacity of Pacific Countries and Least Developed Countries in our region to access climate change financing to attract investment.

Some examples of the work Australia is supporting in the region include helping the Pacific better understand climate impacts through investment in science and adaptation planning and support to national weather and climate services in 14 Pacific countries ($39.8 million until June 2018). Our funding will improve forecasting and reporting on climate, tides and the ocean and deliver practical information on drought conditions, water storages, and malaria and other health risks.

Australia is also supporting the increased participation of Pacific women in climate-related decision-making processes ($0.6 million in 2015–2017). Australia will also contribute to the Climate Risk Early Warning System, a global initiative to help protect lives and livelihoods in Small Island and Least Developed Countries ($5 million over four years from 2016 to 2020).

Our support for multilateral efforts addressing climate change includes:

  • Our $200  million commitment to the Green Climate Fund (2015 to June 2018) which will 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 co-chair and an active member of the GCF Board and uses its seat to advocate the interests of our region, and to promote effective governance.
  •  A proportion of our core contributions to the Asia Development Bank, World Bank, the Global Green Growth Initative, and UN agencies are providing climate change assistance to developing countries (estimated $95 million in 2016/17).  
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.
Last Updated: 2 May 2017
A coastal scene
Many of Australia’s development partners in the Indo-Pacific region are involved in climate change activities.