Friday, 31 October 2008 8:15 AM

Australia Supports Honiara Youth Climate Change Forum

The Australian High Commission is getting behind Honiara Youth and Climate Change Forum. Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Alison Duncan, today met with George Baragamu, Solomon Islands Red Cross Society Program Manager for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, to offer Australia's support for the forum.

"Australia is committed to assisting Australia's Pacific neighbours meet the challenges associated with climate change" Ms. Duncan said.

"Although they have been the least responsible for causing climate change, some of the poorest and most vulnerable nations will find it hardest to cope with the effects of climate change. The Australian High Commission is therefore pleased to support Solomon Islands Red Cross Society in this important forum to raise awareness of climate change issues."

Australia is providing substantial support to Pacific Island countries to implement plans and strategies to adapt to the effects of climate change, including through the new AUD150 million International Adaptation to Climate Change Initiative.

Under the initiative, Australia will provide AUD14.8 million to strengthen climate change adaptation efforts in countries in our region at significant risk from the impacts of climate change.

This includes an AUD3 million Pacific Future Climate Leaders program which aims to help Pacific countries develop the expertise to respond to climate change challenges. The Pacific Future Climate Leaders program will train future Pacific climate change leaders through scholarships, exchange programs and community education.

Australia will also contribute AUD6 million over three years to the Global Environment Facility's Small Grants Program to support community-based adaptation programs in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Australia will invest another AUD5 million to help deliver and coordinate scientific and technical assistance to tackle climate change. And a further AUD800,000 will go towards strengthening Pacific meteorological services in partnership with New Zealand and Pacific Island countries, and to support efforts under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to identify new and innovative tools to limit the financial risks of climate change in developing countries.

The funds for all these programs are drawn from an Australian Government commitment of AUD150 million over three years to meet priority climate adaptation needs in vulnerable countries, with particular emphasis on the needs of our Pacific Island neighbours.

Australia is playing an active and constructive role in helping to shape this global solution.

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