Green Climate Fund

Ashley attended the UNFCCC Climate Talks. She has a Bachelor of International Relations with Honours from La Trobe University. Ashley is currently studying a Master of Environment at Melbourne University with a particular focus on Global Environmental Politics. 

1. Background

This policy brief will examine the Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is a unique mechanism to provide financing for developing nations to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. The brief will focus on projects which have been implemented or approved by the GCF to take place in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Pacific. Specifically, how accessible the process was for these small states with minimal resources and recommended policies that could improve its effectiveness and accessibility. COP23 will be hosted by Fiji who aims to bring the issues facing SIDS to the fore. This policy brief will highlight the challenges faced by the Pacific islands in trying to access finance.

Pacific Islands are at the fore front of the impacts of climate change. It is widely publicised they are “sinking into the ocean” (1) due to sea level rise. However, they are also at the mercy of increasing extreme weather events in the Pacific; including drought and tropical storms. These events can also have a profound effect on the limited water supply, inadequate infrastructure and the reliance on imported diesel for fuel production in many Pacific islands (2). What makes matters worse is their contribution to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions is almost negligible at 0.03 percent (3). Some SIDS have made valiant efforts to work towards 100 percent renewable energy, unfortunately this would barely contribute to the overall reduction of global emissions. Additionally, these states generally have low capacity to adapt with restrictive incomes, small populations and geographical remoteness (4). 

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The Pacer-Plus Agreement between Australia and the Pacific Island Nations

Eloise attended the 2012 WTO Public Forum in Geneva where she represented Macquarie University. She is currently studying a Masters of International Relations and is a member of the Macquarie Global Leadership Program. She has completed an internship with the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Abstract 

In 2001 Australia and New Zealand began negotiating a trade deal with thirteen Pacific Island nations (the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). The trade deal, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER), was to cover trade in goods, services and investment.1 It provided the framework for a further trade agreement that was planned to develop into a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries (PICs) and by 2011, known as the PACER-Plus.2 PACER-Plus was to be a regional FTA but one that held the development of the PICs at its heart.3 However from the launch of PACER-Plus negotiations in August 2009 by Pacific Islands Forum leaders, critics questioned whether such an FTA was in reality compatible and even desirable. Critics contested the congruence of this agreement that asserted its primary focuses to include the PICs’ development and enhancing the PICs’ capacity to engage in international trade, yet simultaneously required the PICs to liberalise their markets. This paper provides an examination of the arguments for and against the establishment of PACER-Plus, concluding that an FTA should not be the vehicle for any pursuit that has development as its principal objective.4 

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