Fijian Prime Minister Lohana Siti-Mata said the country would face a $12bn bill for its environmental protection in 2017 as it struggles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle pollution.
Mr Siti, whose government has faced criticism for its failure to address climate change, said the bill was to help pay for the $5.2bn climate finance package announced in December, and pledged to tackle the issue as soon as possible.
“It’s to pay for climate protection, and climate protection is the main thing that will help us to pay the bill for climate finance,” he said.
Fiji’s climate finance program, which has so far cost $3.4bn, was announced in a deal signed by Fiji’s two main political parties and is expected to bring $5bn of revenue to the country’s coffers over five years.
Mr Lohanas administration has been criticised for its reluctance to tackle climate change.
It has been accused of not taking climate finance seriously enough and for failing to make sure its funds were available to fund projects that the government could afford to do.
The government has been keen to portray itself as an environmentally minded government, which it claims to be.
But the government has also been criticised in the past for failing the countrys environment targets, including by environmental groups.
Environmentalists have also said that the plan is inadequate, and that the country does not have the funds to tackle pollution and the threat of climate change as they say.
The plan has been widely criticised for not including a climate finance guarantee, and some experts have suggested that the money would have to be paid into a global fund rather than the local fund.
The $12.6bn budget will be divided into five areas: environmental protection; climate finance; health; and energy.
The environment sector was set to receive the biggest chunk of the budget, at $8.3bn, but has not been given the money.
Climate finance funds, which include a climate fund and environmental protection funding, were allocated to a range of projects.
Environment and health will receive $1.5bn, and health and wellbeing will receive the other $3bn.
The health and wellness funding was allocated to Fiji in the hope that it would be used to address environmental problems such as air quality and water pollution.
Energy, including hydroelectricity, natural gas and oil, will be allocated $500m to address its energy problems.
The budget is being prepared in consultation with the government and will be submitted to Parliament by December 19.
The country has been struggling with the effects of the island’s cyclonic storm, which is expected this week to hit Fiji for the first time in 30 years.