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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

Today, members of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand presented to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee Inquiry into Aid in the Pacific. Their oral submission to the Committee centred on three key areas they have first -hand experience in: New Zealand’s strong relationships in the Pacific, climate funding and climate migration.

Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealandemphasised the importance of relationships with our Pacific neighbours. “New Zealand’s influence will come from being a trustedpartner which brings independent thinking and an intelligent consideration of local contexts. These relationships will be built on a firm foundation of authenticity, equality and trust.”

Caritas also challenged existing mechanisms for distribution of global Climate Change funding. “Weare concerned that global climate finance is not getting to the grassroots communities where it is mostneeded. Simply pouring billions of dollars into global climate funds doesn’t appear to be working in the Pacific,” said Ms Hickey.

Caritas cited examples from Caritas Tonga where local organisations had found it very difficult to access funding for water tank refurbishment.

Caritas asked the wealthier countries of the region, such as Australia and New Zealand, to meet its long-standing international commitment of investing 0.7% of GDP on Aid. The current figure stands at 0.28%.

“This is about honouring our commitment as a nation. New Zealand has a reputation for being a keen participant in the international community – as well as being a generous nation. But in government spending on Aid we still have some way to go for the reality to match the vision” said Ms Hickey.

Caritas also discussed climate migration, emphasising that this is not an issue looming in the future. They talked about the people in the Carteret Islands where climate migrationisanissuetheyhavefacedforsomeyearsnow. Theyexpressedtheneedtofindnewways, based on relationships of trust, of grappling with these complex issues through incrementalimprovements. This won’t always meet traditional paradigms of risk assessment.