This week during Fiji’s COP23 Presidency, the Australian Government announced an additional support to key climate initiatives to help Pacific countries mitigate and adapt to climate change and meet their climate goals. Australia will provide $6 million to support efforts to protect and manage coastal blue carbon ecosystems in the Pacific, in partnership with Fiji and other Pacific countries, regional institutions and private sector organisations.
Speaking at the high-level Pacific blue carbon side event, Australian Minister for the Environment and Energy, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, confirmed that Australia’s funding will:
Coastal wetlands – mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses – capture more carbon per square metre than almost any other ecosystem and play an important role as fisheries breeding grounds and natural buffers against coastal erosion from rising seas.
Australian support will strengthen blue carbon expertise and data in the Pacific, support its integration into national greenhouse gas accounting and climate policy, and encourage public and private sector investment.
Through the International Partnership for Blue Carbon, an Australia-led initiative involving more than 20 countries and organisations, Australia will facilitate the global sharing of experiences and lessons learned to assist countries in the Oceania region and around the world. The Ramsar Convention joined the Partnership for Blue Carbon in September 2017.
Australia will join Fiji, Germany and the United Kingdom in launching the next stage of a global partnership to support implementation of the Paris Agreement. Australia will provide an additional $500,000 for the Nationally Determined Contributions Hub so that Pacific Island countries have better access to public and private finance, low carbon investments and debt management.
Australia has committed to spend $300 million on climate change and resilience activities in Pacific Island countries from 2016-2020, including $75 million for disaster preparedness.
As a worldwide instrument for the conservation of wetlands the Ramsar Convention plays an important role in highlighting the climate regulation function of the world’s marine and coastal wetlands (blue carbon ecosystems) and in stimulating their conservation and restoration. Currently there are 952 Wetlands of International Importance (marine and coastal wetlands) which are covering 68,556,908 ha.