April 5, 2019 / 6:55 AM / 4 months ago

Australia, New Zealand join Pacific central bankers to focus on climate change

A man smokes next to the Reserve Bank of Australia headquarters in central Sydney, Australia February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Central banks of South Pacific islands, joined by those of Australia and New Zealand, will focus on the impact of climate change on their financial systems and ways to respond, they said in a statement on Friday.

The effort will involve the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), an international group of central banks co-ordinating work on climate change and fostering investment in green technology, in an event in Sydney in November.

The governors of the nine central banks - Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu - have also started a project to find ways to boost access to cheaper capital flows.

At a meeting in Auckland on Thursday, they agreed to collaborate to promote the prosperity and economic wellbeing of member nations, they said in a three-paragraph statement, but gave no further details.

Pacific island nations already face rising sea levels and more frequent storms, sparking fears of economic damage and worsening food and water shortages from natural catastrophes. They have also urged world leaders to pay greater attention to climate change.

Last month, RBA Deputy Governor Guy Debelle underlined the increasing importance of climate change in monetary policy decision-making, saying global warming presents significant risks and opportunities for Australia’s A$1.9-trillion economy.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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