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Australia to allocate US$42 mln to help combat climate change
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A total of 50 million Australian dollars (US$42 million) is being allocated to assist Pacific Island countries to combat climate change, the Australian government announced on Thursday.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith and Minister for Climate Change and Water Penny Wong made the announcement on the second day of ongoing 40th Pacific Islands Forum, which opened in the northeast Australia's shore city of Cairns and attracted 15 heads of governments and more than 450 delegates.

Of the 50-million-dollar initiative, 25 million dollars will be allocated to help implement high priority, practical adaptation programs in Pacific island nations on food security, water supply, increase resilience of coastal areas and supporting disaster preparedness.

A further 12 million dollars will be provided for the Pacific Adaptation Strategy Assistance Program to strengthen the capacity of Pacific Island nations to assess their vulnerabilities to climate change and help them to build the skills and knowledge they need for long-term decision making on the issue.

Australia will also contribute 6 million dollars to support Pacific regional organizations to undertake adaptation work on fisheries management and crop diversity; 4.3 million dollars for investment on upgrading sea level monitoring stations in the region and 2.7 million dollars in partnership with non-government organizations working on adaptation in the region, according to the announcement.

The government has previously announced 150 million dollars for the international climate change adaptation initiative, among which 75 million dollars has previously been allocated and 50 million dollars was announced to be allocated on Thursday.

At a press conference after the announcement, Penny Wong told Xinhua that climate change is a critical development challenge for the whole world which has to be dealt with a coherent policy with joint efforts globally.

Wong said that as the current rotating chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the achievements Australia would most like to see during its tenure will still be on the climate change perspective.

She said all the nations attending the Forum share strong view that climate change is an urgent and pressing issue that demands response immediately. And that's why Australia is pressing forward to legislate and has to go to Copenhagen in December this year.

Wong said this is one of the big issues that needs government attention and Australia is pressing for an ambitious outcome. However, being a global problem, climate change must be dealt with joint efforts globally.

(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2009)

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