NZ climate grants $1.3bn welcomed by Cook Islands Prime Minister

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Cook Islands Prime Minister and COP 26 Pacific Political Champion for Climate Finance, Mark Brown, has welcomed New Zealand’s recent announcement of $1.3bn (US$920 million) in grant-based climate financing between 2022 and 2025.

The funding announcement ahead of the COP26 climate negotiations which begin next week, are a fourfold increase on New Zealand climate finance commitments towards the delivery of the US$100bn commitment by Developed countries under the Paris Agreement. The NZD$1.3bn (US$920 million) payment covers four years of support to countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change—and at least 50 percent of the money is tagged for the Pacific.

“It is welcome news from New Zealand and aligns well with the call from the Pacific for ambitious action to build resilience and adaptation measures desperately needed by SIDS,” said Prime Minister Brown.

“I am particularly pleased with intentions that at least half that funding will be for Pacific Island countries, and that’s a demonstration that New Zealand is aligned with its values as part of our Blue Pacific. “Adaptation is of critical importance to the Cook Islands and all SIDS (Small Island States), and the provision of climate financing and improved access for SIDS is a priority,” he added.

PM Brown said the NZ announcement, “must inspire a wave of like-minded support from the world’s wealthy developed countries, especially the G20, to do the right thing by their citizens, and the planet. But its not just about money, it is also about innovative financing modalities that allow SIDS, many of whom are already debt distressed, to access financing at zero percent interest and with 100 years amortization. Climate change will not disappear over the period of a normal loan of 10 to 20 years, but much more longer term, that is why we have to look at financing modalities that reflect that timespan. A real commitment by all countries to US$100billion annually to assist adaptation measures is an absolute necessity for the short term. This represents 0.1 percent of global GDP – a relatively modest price to pay today”.

The Cook Islands Prime Minister is one of five Pacific Political champions taking Pacific priorities to COP26. While he will not be attending in person, Prime Minister Brown has pledged his full support to advocate climate finance.

“Globally, we are the most affected by a climate crisis we did not create, and can least afford,” he said.

“We have no shortage of moral authority and can-do attitude, but the cost to implement adaptation measures—like global temperatures, is rising. Ambitious global actions to reduce emission levels go hand in hand with fast tracking meaningful access to adaptation financing for those bearing the brunt of this code-red climate crisis for our blue Pacific.” .

SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS GOVT/PACNEWS