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Climate finance 'woefully inadequate'

6 October 2015

Climate finance 'woefully inadequate' at reaching those most in need

Climate finance funding to help the most vulnerable Oceania communities adapt to climate change is 'woefully inadequate' and simply not getting to those who need it most, a report by Catholic social justice agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has concluded.

In light of this assessment, Caritas welcomes the release by the OECD tomorrow of estimated finances from developed countries mobilised to help developing countries address climate change. The report also calls on the New Zealand Government to ensure its commitments to climate financing are met.

Released this week, Caritas' State of the Environment Report for Oceania - Caring for our Common Home draws on information provided through working with grassroots communities across Oceania on development, humanitarian relief, advocacy and education projects.

One example highlighted by Caritas director Julianne Hickey is that of Carteret Island communities that are having to relocate themselves from their disappearing homeland to Bougainville with virtually no assistance from government climate financing.

“The Carteret Islanders are largely depending on their own tenacity and ingenuity, the support of the Catholic church, and some direct funding,” says Mrs Hickey.

“There are around 40 families still on the Islands that are waiting to move to the mainland – where there is land available for them - but there is no money to build houses. Overall, our assessment is that funding for countries in desperate need of assistance with adaptation and mitigation are only receiving about 10 per cent of what’s needed."

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This raises serious questions about examples highlighted in the report of building a new jetty in the Cook Islands or rehabilitating runways in Solomon Islands as part of 'climate adaptation' funding from the New Zealand Government.

The conclusion from the report is that only half of New Zealand’s climate aid dollars over the last three years have been spent on necessary adaptation projects. The other half has been spent on repairing damage caused by severe weather emergencies, or supporting ‘business-as-usual’ infrastructure projects and economic development of fisheries, forestry and tourism. There is little indication such projects are targeting the poorest and most vulnerable in the Pacific.

However, Caritas is encouraged by the New Zealand Government's support of renewable energy projects for Pacific Island nations. Significant and meaningful carbon emission cuts at home are also needed, in addition to a much stronger climate commitment to the United Nations climate conference in Paris this December (COP21).

Mrs Hickey will present key findings and recommendations from the State of the Environment report to the conference as part of an international Caritas delegation.

The report is available online or by request from the Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand office in Wellington.

To arrange interviews, request a copy of the report and for more information, please contact Communications, Marketing and Fundraising Advisor Crispin Anderlini on 021 190 9908 or email to crispin@caritas.org.nz


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