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Australia’s Climate Minister, Chris Bowen, says Pacific Island nations and other countries vulnerable to climate catastrophe should be the major beneficiaries of “loss and damage” funding and a broader range of countries should bankroll the international effort along with the private sector.

Given the intensifying heat waves, floods and droughts have taken lives and caused substantial economic damage around the world, the Cop27 summit in Egypt in November 2022 agreed to establish a “loss and damage” fund to help vulnerable countries rebuild social and physical infrastructure after extreme weather events exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions. But the details of the fund are not yet agreed.

Minister Bowen told the Lowy Institute that Australia supported loss and damage funding – a concept that has been contentious for a number of decades. The government had already “contributed constructively to the design of the new fund and future funding arrangements” in the run-up to COP28.

He said Australia’s objective was to ensure the new arrangements “delivered practical outcomes and maximum impact for the Pacific and other countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts”.

Bowen said the new fund needed to be bankrolled by “a broad donor base, including private and innovative sources of finance” and he signaled more countries needed to step up to their international responsibilities, not just the industrialized nations that have been required, historically, to make the larger contributions to climate finance.

“It’s time to have that discussion.  Arguing that climate finance should come from as broad a donor base as possible is about maximising the flow of funds to help the developing world deal with climate change which is ultimately in all our interest,” Bowen said.

Meanwhile Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, used the recent Pacific Islands Forum to unveil a new agreement with Tuvalu– a low lying Pacific nation. Australia will offer residency to people impacted by climate change through a new security treaty with the country.

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