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China’s South-South Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Series Report: Climate Change Adaptation

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Introduction

Climate change is a significant and inevitable challenge to people’s lives in the Pacific. Although the Pacific island region contributes to less than 0.03 per cent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that drive climate change (IPCC, 2001), it is constantly facing the impacts of changing weather patterns, sea-level rise, ocean acidification and frequent extreme climate-induced disasters. These impacts, in addition to its specific geographical location in disaster-prone areas and exposure to hydro-meteorological and geological hazards, significantly increase the vulnerability and undermine the sustainable development of the Pacific region.

In September 2015, the United Nations Member States endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. Goal 13 calls on countries to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Furthermore, the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and the coming into force of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in December 2015, underpin the global consensus on climate action. This global agenda coincides with regional efforts to highlight these agreements in the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP): An Integrated Approach to Address Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management 2017-2030; and as governments around the Pacific are revising national plans by transitioning priorities to become green lowcarbon economies. Development partners like China, have a significant role to play in both interpreting and implementing the SDGs, especially related to climate change adaptation1 in the Pacific region.

For Pacific island countries (PICs), climate change is already included in their national development plans and most countries have developed a national climate change policy or strategy. These national policies and strategies identify climate change as a cross-cutting challenge in all environmental, social and economic sectors. This report investigates the prospects for China’s South-South cooperation in climate change adaptation in the Pacific. It will highlight the institutional arrangements, priorities and existing Chinese engagement in climate change adaptation in Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG). At the end, it will identify opportunities and provide recommendations for future engagement between China and the Pacific in climate change adaptation.