The Australian government has committed AUD$20 million (K50 million) towards the Climate FIRST program which will assist PNG to access climate change funding of US$400 million (K1.5 billion) by 2028.

The Climate Finance Initiative for Resilience and a Sustainable Transition programme launched Monday falls under the PNG-Australia partnership and will see the endorsement of climate finance proposals towards securing funding from international and domestic sources.

On behalf of Prime Minister James Marape, National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop thanked the Australian government for their support geared towards equipping PNG to protect its tropical rainforests, vibrant coral reefs and biodiversity.

“Climate FIRST maybe one of the many responses to our nation’s call for resources to act decisively and responsibly against climate change but it is a very significant response. It is a catalyst, urgent and immediate action that PNG needs right now to help us leverage much greater resources that are out there, specifically for responding to the greatest threat in our times. It will enable us to play our part in this global fight against climate change. Let me thank the government and people of Australia for their critical support through this project to enable us in PNG to increase our contribution towards the global effort,” Parkop said.

According to recent publications by the Development Policy Blog of the Australian National University, between 2013 and 2021 a total of US$1.65 billion was committed to climate change in PNG. The Climate First programme is expected to bring a similar figure in the next four years.

Australian High Commissioner to PNG John Feakes highlighted that this partnership will support the Climate Change Development Authority to implement PNG’s climate change policies, which is the biggest hindrance in addressing climate change in PNG.

“Through this new initiative we will support the PNG government boost its access to climate finance from international and domestic sources. We will leverage our $20 million (K50 million) investment to build a pipeline of high-quality green projects. These projects will advance climate adaptation in agriculture, health, transport and infrastructure, all key sectors in PNG’s latest Medium-Term Development Plan,” he said.

With the launching of the “Climate First” a PNG-Australian partnership project aimed at scaling up PNGs access to climate finance, Australian government said it will extend its support to the provincial level.

The project will be implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and will be delivered in partnership with PNG’s climate change and development authority.

High commissioner of Australia to PNG John Feakes highlights the importance of the support to communities and provinces they will support.

“Activities at the provincial and community level underpins Australia climate support, we know that people in the rural areas will be hit the hardest by the changing climate.

“Through our previous projects we have been proud to help mainstream climates action in Enga, Milne Bay and New Ireland provinces since 2019.

“Today as i announce under Climate First we will be extending that support to our further provinces – Simbu, Eastern Highlands, Manus and Morobe,” Feakes said.

While Commissioner Feakes expressed his delight for provincial leaders present at the occasion, he also shared his recent experience visiting the provinces.

“I have seen firsthand how important this support will be for provinces like Morobe during my travel there last week.

“While in Lae, I spoke to investors and landowners about the strong prospect of growth and improvement and PNG’s agriculture sector.

He pointed out that through their previous work with Global Green Growth institute (GGGI) they leveraged a US$10 million investment form the adaptation fund to support small scale farm holder with climate resilience crops and boost market access.

“This is the type of success that we are willing to replicate on a far larger scale, through Climate First,” Freaks said.