9 Aug 2023


The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s New International Development Policy, which brings a stronger focus on climate change as “the greatest shared threat to all countries”. 

“Our neighbours, especially in the Pacific, are experiencing the worst impacts of climate change, despite having contributed the least to the problem,” said Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia.

“Climate change, the health of nature, and the wellbeing of communities are inherently intertwined. Australia’s international development program can play a bigger role in helping communities across the Indo-Pacific build resilience to climate change and regenerate nature. The New International Development Policy helps make that possible,” he said.

WWF-Australia noted the policy’s recognition that climate change and biodiversity loss are twin ecological crises, and welcomed the Government’s commitment to ‘implementing an ambitious climate agenda and increasing environmental protection, both at home and with our partners, to achieve a net-zero and nature-positive world.’

“We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that climate actions supported by the development program are nature-positive, and encourage them to prioritise investments that deliver benefits to communities, nature, and the climate,” Mr O’Gorman said.

The policy introduces a new strategic target, requiring development programs over $3 million to include an explicit climate change objective.

Nat Burke, WWF-Australia Head of Regenerative Climate, called this a step in the right direction but urged the Government to also step-up its commitments to climate finance.

“Most of the world’s poorest people depend directly on nature for their livelihoods and protection from the impacts of climate change. Mainstreaming climate action and embedding nature-positive approaches across the development program will help achieve our shared goal of supporting a stable, peaceful, and prosperous region,” Mr Burke said.

“However, the international development budget remains at less than 0.2% of Gross National Income, and those dollars can only stretch so far. Under the Paris Agreement, Australia has a responsibility to deliver new and additional climate finance. We continue to call on the Government to step up and contribute its fair share to global climate finance.”

While welcoming the new policy, WWF-Australia noted that addressing the climate crisis requires action at home.  

"If Australia wants to be a climate leader, we also need to listen to Pacific leaders and accelerate a fast, best, and just transition to renewables that minimises impacts on nature and supports ambitious emissions reduction measures consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C," Mr Burke said.