The Federal Government has announced Australia will rejoin the United Nations Green Climate Fund, a collective that finances climate mitigation in developing countries.
Australia withdrew financial support for the fund in 2018, but Foreign Minister Penny Wong has announced the nation will rejoin it at the request of several Pacific nations.
The United Nations Green Climate Fund is the fifth-largest source of climate finance in the Pacific region through grants and concessional loans. A recent report from the Lowy Institute revealed that every dollar Australia contributes to the fund unlocks up to $1.60 in additional global climate finance.
It has raised more than $20 billion in two funding rounds since it was launched in 2015. Australia contributed to the first round, but withdrew its support for round two, as did the US, citing governance concerns with the operation of the fund.
The Green Climate Fund has also previously been criticised for a perceived lack of direction and strategy, and politicised decisions by board members.
A spokesperson for Minister Wong says Australia is vowing to drive change in the fund’s governance process.
“Australia will be rejoining the Green Climate Fund, with a modest contribution to be announced before the end of the year,” says the spokesperson.
“We have taken onboard feedback from our partners in the Pacific on the best ways to direct our climate finance efforts and ensure all elements deliver for Pacific priorities.
“We recognise the Green Climate Fund is the most prominent global climate finance fund. We will work with partners to improve its effectiveness.”
Australia will also continue to work directly with Pacific nations on sustainability and clean energy projects.
“Australia is supporting the Pacific’s transition to renewable energy and is helping countries build climate resilience,” says the spokesperson.
“We will continue to boost direct financing to the Pacific, building on our increased development assistance for the region.”
Recent Green Climate Fund initiatives include a $10 million solar project in Fiji and a $47 million project to help Tonga shift away from reliance on diesel-generated power.