ACFID Welcomes Publication of DFAT’s Climate Change Action Strategy

In a statement, the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has welcomed the release of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s, Climate Change Action Strategy and the elevation of climate change as a development priority.

The release of this strategy allows development partners to understand DFAT’s strategic direction on climate change and provides a steer on how to further collaborate with the Australian Government on climate change action through its development assistance program.

The emphasis on social inclusion and gender and the establishment of sound governance measures, including an interdepartmental committee, is particularly welcome. We also welcome the Government’s statement that climate change presents an existential threat to Pacific atoll nations.

Our members also welcome DFAT’s intention to develop closer working relationships with implementation partners through harnessing and reinforcing capability and strengthening knowledge. ACFID would like to invite the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for International Development and the Pacific and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to open-up the conversation with Australian civil society organisations working with Pacific partners and work with us to leverage those relationships to help the strategy become a success.

Our members work in partnership with Pacific communities on 600 development projects right across the Pacific, and our membership is supported by over 1.5 million individual Australians. We want to bring that support, those relationships and that experience to bear and establish a renewed partnership with the Australian Government on climate change.

Climate change adaptation at the community level is under resourced throughout the Pacific region. While the announcement of $500m for the Pacific over five years (from 2020) for climate finance is welcome, this comes from within the existing aid envelope, meaning that other parts of the development assistance program will have to be run-down in response.

The Australian Government continues to pursue a policy which means Australia will not meet its Paris Agreement emissions targets. Without a national ambition in line with the scale and pace of action necessary to help limit warming to 1.5°C, the efforts to address climate change through our development assistance program will be undermined, as will our diplomatic relationships and international reputation and influence.

ACFID congratulates Mr Jamie Isbister on his appointment as Australia’s next Ambassador for the Environment and look forward to working with him in efforts to integrate climate change and sustainability into Australia’s official development assistance.

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