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Australian Civil Society Stands with Pacific Leaders on Climate Change

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Over 120 Australian international development NGOs and members of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), have backed Pacific calls for Australia to cease thermal coal exports by 2030 whilst increasing Australia’s domestic climate ambition in-line with the Paris Agreement and refraining from using Kyoto ‘carryover’ credits.

The resolution – proposed by WWF Australia, Plan International Australia and Oxfam Australia – was passed at the ACFID conference in Sydney and highlighted the imminent threats to the wellbeing, culture, security and sovereignty of Australia’s Pacific neighbours and called on the Australian Government to increase Australia’s national ambition, in line with the scale and pace of action necessary to help limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Commenting on the resolution, ACFID CEO, Marc Purcell said:

“Australians have ranked climate change at the top of the list of threats to Australia’s interests. Our closest allies, like the UK, have appealed to Australian Ministers to create a more ambitious climate policy. The Chief of the Defence Force, General Campbell, has said climate change will have serious ramifications for regional security and how Australia responds will determine our future international relationships in the region.

“Most importantly, for the most vulnerable Pacific countries, this is a matter of survival.

“The Australian Government’s actions have simply been inadequate to the challenge at-hand. To achieve the Pacific ‘step-up’ Australia must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Pacific peoples in responding to the climate crisis.”

Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF Australia – who spoke in support of the resolution at the conference – said:

“Today we have shown Pacific Island communities that Aussies are with them on their call for stronger climate action. Our Pacific island neighbours now know that their message is being heard.

“As Australians, we are committed to amplifying their voice.

“The Australian Government can’t continue to brush aside the concerns of Pacific Island nations as the chorus grows louder. Only by changing our domestic climate policy can Australia achieve the regional security we all desire”.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain, - who seconded the resolution – said Pacific Island countries had long recognised climate change as the single greatest threat to the wellbeing, livelihoods and security of their peoples and there was an urgent need for Australia to step up to the defining challenge of our times.

“Pacific Island countries and communities are leading the fight for climate justice, shifting rapidly to clean energy, building the resilience of their communities, and holding the rest of the world - including Australia - to account," Ms Morgain said.

"Meanwhile, the Australian Government’s extraordinary recklessness in the face of this crisis is undermining the future of our Pacific Island neighbours and risking the lives and prospects of communities everywhere.

“Oxfam joins all ACFID members in resolute support for the Pacific’s longstanding calls to action, in particular the need for a swift and just phasing out of fossil fuels. We must stop coal exports by 2030 at the latest, curb Australia's rising emissions and work in partnership with our region to build clean, resilient economies of the future.”


Notes to Editors

Link to ACFID resolution in full.


Founded in 1965, ACFID currently has 121 members and 19 affiliates operating in more than 85 developing countries. In 2017–18, the total revenue raised by ACFID’s members amounted to $1.6 billion — $846 million of which was raised by 1.5 million individual donors. ACFID’s members range from large Australian multi-sectoral organisations that are linked to international federations of non-government organisations (NGOs), agencies with specialised thematic expertise, and smaller community-based groups, with a mix of secular and faith-based organisations.

ACFID’s members comply with ACFID’s Code of Conduct, a voluntary, self-regulatory sector code of good practice that aims to improve international development and humanitarian action outcomes and increase stakeholder trust by enhancing the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of signatory organisations.

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