Australia and New Zealand's Climate Change Assistance Policies towards Pacific Island countries

Authors: Ryan Maia*, Northeastern University
Topics: Australia and New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Development
Keywords: climate change, climate development, development, politics
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



This study seeks to understand the role of domestic and foreign factors in explaining patterns of Australia and New Zealand's climate change development assistance dedicated to Pacific Island countries (PICs), including the quantity and quality of aid provided. Research consisted of interviews with government officials, NGO leaders, independent researchers, university professors, and activists in Australia and New Zealand in order to a) identify and characterize the factors contributing to Australia and New Zealand’s climate assistance policies towards PICs, b) explore the efficacy of such policies, and c) compare Australia and New Zealand’s policies. The study also evaluated historical trends in the two countries’ climate-related foreign aid to PICs.

Data collected via interviews found that, though Australia provides a greater monetary sum to PICs, New Zealand is and will likely continue to be a more effective climate change ally to PICs due to the country’s domestic, regional, and international political momentum. Comparative analysis identified strengths and weaknesses of each countries’ approach and lessons to be learned from each. Areas of improvement for both Australia and New Zealand are also identified. More broadly, this study provides an example of how domestic, regional, and international politics interact as they supervene on a country’s climate change policies. As the effects of climate change grow, so will the need for effective bilateral and regional adaptation and mitigation strategies. This study uniquely contributes to nascent and necessary discussions of how climate assistance can be effectively and consistently provided to PICs.

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