Half of the $300 million the Government has allocated to fighting the effects of climate change has been earmarked for projects in the Pacific Islands.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement from Tuvalu at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) this morning.

Climate change has been the major theme of the forum so far, with pressure mounting on some of the bigger PIF countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, to do more.

After stepping off the plane yesterday, Ardern was greeted by a group of school children singing, "Save Tuvalu, save the world".


The Government had previously earmarked $300m for providing what it calls "change-related development assistance" for climate change-related projects.

Ardern announced this morning that half of that sum had been ring-fended specifically for Pacific programmes, meaning at least $150m of the total package has to be spent in this area.

But Ardern said that the Government expects up to two thirds of the overall $300m fund will be spent on projects that help the Pacific.

Tuvalu, which has a population of just over 11,000, will receive at least $5.6m for projects, the first of which will be a water storage facility.

The money will also help pay for a renewable energy and drought modelling support system.

The rest of the funding will be split between various other projects in the Pacific, including providing infrastructure to build more water tanks and mapping and planning for climate change hazards.

Jacinda Ardern meets with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Tuvalu. Photo / Jason Walls
Jacinda Ardern meets with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Tuvalu. Photo / Jason Walls

Money has also been allocated to projects that will eliminate invasive species that threaten food security.

"Pacific people have made it clear they want to stay where they are and defend their homes and livelihoods against climate change, and we will support them in this," Ardern said.


Her announcement comes just days after the Australian Government allocated $500m in climate change funding.

But Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu's Prime Minister and Pacific Islands Forum chair, said this wasn't enough.

"No matter how much money you put on the table, it doesn't give you the excuse to not to do the right thing, which is to cut down on your emissions, including not opening your coal mines."

Ardern met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last night where the pair discussed what more the two countries could do for climate change in the Pacific.