Australian funded AUD$20 million PNG Climate First Project launched

A new AUD 20 million PNG Climate FIRST (Finance Initiative for Resilience and a Sustainable Transition) project was officially launched by Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District (NCD) Governor, Honorable Powes Parkop MP, (on behalf of the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Honorable James Marape MP) in a full APEC Haus in Port Moresby today.

This project is set to mobilize and secure significant international and domestic climate financing and investments that will fund transformative projects on climate adaptation and mitigation for Papua New Guinea.

Present to officiate the launch were NCD Governor Parkop MP, the Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Mr. John Feakes, and the Director General of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Dr. Frank Rijsberman, who is on a week’s official visit to Papua New Guinea.

Over 100 guests including provincial government executives, senior government officials, development partners, the private sector and non-government organizations attended the lunch event jointly hosted by the Australian High Commission, the Climate Change Development Authority (CCDA) and GGGI.

The Climate FIRST investment was first announced by the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, the Hon. James Marape MP, and the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, during the Australia-Papua New Guinea Annual Leaders’ Dialogue in Canberra on 8 February 2024.

In delivering the keynote address, Governor Parkop thanked the Government of Australia for its AUD 20 million investment in Climate FIRST under the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership.

“This initiative is part of our commitment to work together with Australia to tackle the impacts of climate change under the PNG-Australia Climate Change Action Plan,” said Governor Parkop.

The project will be implemented over the next four years through a PNG-led collaboration with Australia, other partners, national stakeholders, and delivery partner, Global Green Growth Institute, and is aimed at ensuring PNG’s access to international climate finance to address climate change in the country, particularly at the provincial level where the risks and impacts are most profound.

“We all know too well how climate change is adversely impacting our invaluable pristine natural resources and assets, business and economic sectors, communities, and peoples, and way of life right across the country.

“This is on top of many development challenges and fiscal limitations that we already face as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) and low-income developing country. Our beautiful country, with its lush tropical rainforests, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse biodiversity and ecosystems, agriculture, and infrastructures are at risk.

“The time for action is now, and we cannot tackle this challenge alone but with our development partners such as Australia and others, including the private sector and civil society that are doing their best to help Papua New Guinea”, said Governor Parkop.

The Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency John Feakes, said that Climate FIRST would be an opportunity to unlock funding for new climate-resilient projects to benefit men, women and children from diverse communities across PNG.

“Australia has listened to PNG’s feedback on its climate priorities. We know that accessing a greater share large-scale funding for high-quality projects is at the top of that list of priorities.”

“We are optimistic that Climate FIRST will boost PNG’s ability to build resilience to climate change at the community level, and support PNG’s transition to a low-carbon economy”, said His Excellency John Feakes.

The Director General of GGGI, Dr. Frank Rijsberman, in his remarks thanked the Government of Australia for funding Climate FIRST and thanked the Government of Papua New Guinea for its support for GGGI as an embedded partner based at CCDA in Port Moresby since 2018.

“Climate FIRST is planned on scale that will generate significant transformative impacts for Papua New Guineans and their communities in the seven target provinces making them become more resilient and adaptative to the adverse impacts of climate change,” Dr. Rijsberman said.

“GGGI will more than double the size of its Team in Papua New Guinea in the coming months with provincial staff to be appointed and also embedded in the seven provinces that Climate FIRST will be supporting to coordinate the implementation of the project at the subnational provincial level,” he added.

The Climate FIRST project is the result of a close collaboration between the Australian DFAT, CCDA, and GGGI. The project design was informed by an extensive process of consultation at the national and subnational level involving government and non-government stakeholders. It is fully aligned with Papua New Guineas Nationally Determine Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

The AUD 20 million that Australia is investing in Climate FIRST will cover cost of implementing the project. A key outcome under this project is to have hundreds of millions of dollars mobilised as climate finance and investments to fund green and climate change projects, jobs and businesses around the country.

Climate FIRST will be delivered through a grant agreement with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) – a treaty based international intergovernmental organization and embedded partner with a strong track record of working with the Papua New Guinea Government since 2018 to develop climate finance proposals.

Australia will fund GGGI to support the PNG Government to develop investment proposals and broker implementation partnerships with key stakeholders, in line with the priority sectors identified in Papua New Guinea’s key climate policy documents, its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and NAP. It will also seek to increase climate resilience at the subnational level and open opportunities to build domestic green financing sources. The program will provide opportunities for stronger engagement with Papua New Guinea and its sector agencies, led by the CCDA, and improve coordination across Australian and other development partner programs.

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