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New Zealand increases climate aid ahead of UN summit

Dharvi Vaid
October 18, 2021

At least 50% of the increased funds are set to go to Pacific island nations as part of a plan to help countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Palau island
Low-lying islands in the Pacific are particularly vulnerable to climate changeImage: Imago/imagebroker

New Zealand is making a four-fold increase in foreign aid spending on countries most vulnerable to climate change, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

The announcement comes in the run-up to a landmark UN climate conference in Glasgow.

How much climate funding is New Zealand planning?

Ardern said Wellington would boost its climate aid budget to NZ$1.3 billion ($920 million; €790 million) over four years.

"New Zealand will do its fair share in the global race to tackle climate change by providing $1.3 billion to assist lower-income countries to protect lives, livelihoods and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change," she said in a statement.

At least half of the funding will go to Pacific island nations as they tackle the climate emergency, the statement said.

"We need to continue to step up our support for our Pacific family and neighbours who are on the front line of climate change and need our support most," Ardern said.

The prime minister said the money would help Wellington in supporting clean energy projects in developing nations.

She added that the investment would help communities withstand damaging storms and rising sea levels.

How does that compare with other nations?

Monitoring website Climate Action Tracker rates New Zealand's existing climate aid budget as  "critically insufficient" and the nation's overall response to global warming as "highly insufficient."

With the increased commitment from 2022-25, New Zealand's per capita contribution to global climate finance would match that of Britain's.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said it was the duty of comparatively wealthy nations like New Zealand to help at-risk nations prepare for climate change.

"Our history over the last 30 years has been woefully inadequate when it comes to the scale of the challenge," Shaw told Radio New Zealand.

"What that's left us with now is only a few years remaining to dramatically reduce the greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere," he added.

AFP contributed to this report.