With days to go before world leaders gather in Paris, the Prime Minister has set out a comprehensive package of climate change support for the Commonwealth’s small island countries at the Commonwealth Summit in Valletta.
Speaking ahead of the summit’s session on climate change, the Prime Minister said:
We have a real opportunity to get the small island states that are so vulnerable to climate change on board for an ambitious global climate change deal in Paris.
Britain is firmly committed to helping these countries deal with the effects of climate change and that’s why we’re announcing new support to help protect them from the risks of climate change and to make the most of their natural maritime advantages which are so vital to their economies.
The Prime Minister announced a multi-million pound package to support small island countries to preserve their marine environments and tap into maritime resources to catalyse economic development in a sustainable way across Commonwealth countries. The maritime economy is often a primary source of income for these countries – with untapped potential in their tourism, shipping and fisheries industries.
The government will provide £5.6 million in funding next year from its overseas aid budget which will be targeted at developing maritime economy plans with additional funding on offer for future years to help these countries implement their plans. The funding will provide for:
technical experts from the UK Hydrographic Office to locate valuable marine resources and mitigate the hazards to shipping that would otherwise make the exploitation of those resources uneconomical
the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science to work with these countries to strengthen their capacity to manage their local fisheries, tackle pollution and develop coastal infrastructure
assistance from the National Oceanographic Centre to map maritime zones, producing vital data to identify new investment and growth opportunities and helping to preserve biodiversity
The government has also announced new initiatives to help countries protect themselves from the risks of climate change and to access more global climate finance. These include:
£15 million to help extend an international disaster risk insurance fund to the Pacific Islands – helping these countries to access rapid finance in the event of natural disasters or reduce the worst effects of a slow onset disaster such as drought
£5 million to establish a global disaster risk financing facility to provide technical assistance to help low income countries manage risk and put disaster contingency plans in place
£1 million to provide technical expertise to small island developing countries to help identify ways for them to better access finance to invest in critical development and infrastructure projects
establishing a working group within the Commonwealth to identify ways to lever more private sector investment for green projects in vulnerable countries – this will report back to Commonwealth finance ministers at the spring finance meetings in 2016.
The government also welcomes the announcement from Lloyds of London that 8 Lloyd’s syndicates are joining forces and committing $400 million to develop new solutions to help developing economies tackle underinsurance and improve their resilience against the economic impact of natural catastrophes.