Africa calls for $500 billion fund

2011-12-01 00:00

IT was a case of follow the money at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) came under the spotlight yesterday.

The African Group presented its opening negotiating position at COP17 and the fund was a central issue.

Spokesperson Seyni Nafo said the African Group would propose the amount for the fund be derived from 1,5% of developed countries’ GNPs, which he calculated would provide the $500 billion (R4,08 trillion) to $600 billion required to finance Africa’s emissions reduction efforts and adaptation to climate change.

This is five to six times more than the $100 billion by 2020 agreed to at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, for the GCF.

The fund — which observers believe will be formally established at the Durban summit — is aimed at helping poor countries finance emission reductions and adaptation.

“If the conference delays a decision on the fund it will delay the identification of sources of funding and accessing available finance,” said the head of the South African delegation, Edna Molewa, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister. This came after the design for the Green Climate Fund was presented at COP17 yesterday.

Molewa said the fund at present is a “shell”. The funds themselves are not under discussion, but rather the mechanism that would see them sourced and rolled out.

The setting up of the GCF, which was agreed to at COP16 in Cancun, sees developed countries contributing $100 billion to assist developing countries most affected by climate change brought about by the greenhouse gas emissions of the developed countries.

The fund would assist developing countries to introduce mitigation and adaptation technologies.

“We are still confident we are on track with the fund,” Molewa said in response to a question at a press conference suggesting that talks around the fund are breaking down.

Other delegations did not engage on the subject of the amount.

European Union spokesperson Tomasz Chruszcow said making the fund operational is a major EU priority.

“It will play a key role in mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer,” he said, adding it is inevitably a compromise but that it is a good one.

“There should be agreement on the draft and that agreement will attract funding. It would be unproductive to have further discussions,” he said.

Chruszcow said COP17 should come up with a decision on the fund and a board be created to start work in 2012.

Nafo said the African Group wants the legal architecture of the GCF to ensure that developing countries have direct access to it.

He said the funding should come directly to governments and the private sector.

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