Cameron Joins Hollande in Pushing Commonwealth for Climate Deal

  • U.K. announces funding to help smaller states deal with change
  • Grouping of former British colonies meets in Malta for summit

Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain will put 5.6 million pounds ($8.4 million) toward helping small island states cope with climate change and announced a 20 million-pound investment in international funds to aid them in dealing with natural disasters as he rallied support for a climate deal in Paris next week.

The premier made the announcement as leaders of the 52-member Commonwealth met in Malta for a summit at which he also pressed for cooperation to combat radicalization and extremism in the face of the growing threat from Islamist terrorism.

Cameron called on the 25 small island members of the grouping, which is mostly made up of countries that used to be part of the British empire, to give vocal backing to an accord to stem climate change at a United Nations summit in the French capital. President Francois Hollande is due to address Commonwealth leaders later on Friday as he seeks to build an international consensus behind an agreement.

“It’s good that President Hollande is here, because there is a chance in the run-up to the vital Paris conference on climate change to build the momentum for a global deal,” Cameron told reporters in Malta. “One of the advantages of the Commonwealth is we have got all of those small island states that are so vulnerable to climate change, and if we can bring them on board for a deal that will help them we can then bring the whole world together in Paris.”

Aid Breakdown

The 5.6 million pounds from the U.K.’s overseas aid budget are intended to help island nations exploit marine resources, manage fisheries and tackle pollution. Britain will also give 15 million pounds to an international disaster-risk insurance fund and 5 million pounds to establishing a disaster-risk finance facility, Cameron’s office said.

Earlier Friday, Cameron put terrorism on the Commonwealth agenda and said the U.K. will put 5 million pounds toward a counter-extremism unit. The money, to be paid over five years, will help fund a team to work with smaller Commonwealth countries that are struggling with terrorist threats.

“The fight against extremism is something that affects us all,” Cameron said. “The Commonwealth has a vital role to play in broadening international efforts to counter extremism. Its civil society and education networks make it particularly well placed to complement international efforts to build counter-narratives to this poisonous extremist ideology.”

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