Durban decision imminent on Green Climate Fund

Impromptu protest by the Korea Green Foundation at COP17 challenges rich nations to contribute to the Green Climate Fund.
 
By Denis McClean

DURBAN, 9 December 2011 - Ten years after the first Funds were established to support adaptation activities in developing countries, the world, and Africa in particular, is waiting to see if a deal can be brokered this weekend at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban which would amount to a quantum leap in the finance available to reduce disaster risk in countries bearing the brunt of climate change.

To date, less than $500 million has been allocated to support adaptation from the three Funds which were set up at the 2001 Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP7 in Marrakesh. The hope now is that this COP17 will operationalize the Green Climate Fund envisaged under the Cancún Agreements at COP16 last year.

The Least Developed Countries Fund, the Special Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund established in 2001 would then be dwarfed by a Fund which is expected to channel $100 billion per year towards climate change adaptation by 2020.

Much will depend on how the Conference Parties react now to the recommendations of the Transitional Committee which was set up in Cancn to design the fund, including its financial instruments and legal procedures. The new Fund would be governed by a Board of 24 members with a 50-50 split between developing and developed countries. The World Bank has already been named as interim trustee for a three-year period.

In a new Policy Brief from the Stockholm Environment Institute, Prof. Richard Klein states: “The history of climate change finance for developing countries is littered with disappointments and broken promises that have eroded trust to an unprecedented level.”

He points out a number of challenges on the road to implementation of the Green Climate Fund including “the importance of ensuring equity, transparency and accountability in the generation, governance, delivery and use of the money.”

UNISDR’s Head of Policy, John Harding, points out that “Climate change adaptation plans can benefit from the experience to date in implementing the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction. There are good examples of efforts by countries to address the risk of natural hazards in their national and local planning and budgeting. Institutional capacity needs to be supported and current levels of financing are insufficient to bring these efforts to scale; so the Green Climate Fund will provide a welcome boost.”

The multi-lateral troika of the African Commission, the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa continued to apply pressure to the developed world yesterday in Durban with a final press conference during which they accused those who have contributed most to global warming of trying to avoid their culpability for unleashing more floods and drought on the African continent.

Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, told a press conference in the African Pavilion: “We are here because the polluters are trying to roll back the principle that the polluter pays.” Nonetheless he said he was confident that the Green Climate Fund would be established as one outcome of this week’s negotiations between the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

He said: “I’m confident that the Green Climate Fund will be created. After creating it there will be some work to be done on governance structures, access and other issues, but the most important thing is where this money will come from.”

Kaberuka said consideration was being given to several sources of financing including a tax on financial transactions, a maritime tax and carbon pricing. He said that the process of accessing the funds should not be so cumbersome as to deter least developed countries from getting their share. There would also be “parity” in how the funds are spent between mitigation and adaptation.

Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa, said: “We are not going cap in hand looking for assistance. This is a question of equity and justice.”

Jean Ping, Chairman, African Union Commission, said: “We have no choice but to play an active part in these negotiations as the impact on Africa in terms of more floods and droughts will be such that we will suffer the most from climate change.

“At the same time we are well placed to move directly to a green economy. We have the sun, we have the wind and we have the biomass. What we are missing is the technology and the money. If Africa has a green economy it is for the good of humanity.”

Chairman Ping also defended the Kyoto Protocol which is losing support among developed nations. “We have the Kyoto Protocol. It’s the only instrument we have to control emissions. It’s something that exists and is better than nothing.”
The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015 The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015.
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