Developing countries seek commitment on climate funds

Updated: 2012-11-30 02:25

By LAN LAN and Wu Wencong in Doha, Qatar (China Daily)

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Developing countries are planning to propose a mid-term finance target for 2015, to ensure that the climate finance pledge made by developed countries is guaranteed, said sources at the fourth day of the climate change talks in Doha, Qatar.

But it still remains an internal discussion, and the specific number has yet to be decided, sources said.

At the 2009 Copenhagen talks, developed countries made a commitment to raise $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change.

Developed countries have committed to delivering $30 billion between 2010 and 2012. The money is called Fast Start Finance, and it expires next month.

A United States negotiator claims developed countries have achieved the target, but representatives from developing countries have challenged that statement.

George Awudi from the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, a continental coalition of civil society organizations from the Africa, said he is not satisfied with what developed countries claimed to have offered in climate funds from 2010 to 2012.

"We don't know the means or ways that they are funding climate change, he said. "The climate fund demands that the money should be new and additional."

Awudi said the disagreement over financing exists because developed countries are "double-counting" the money they provide to developing countries.

"They may have sent money to Ghana to provide water, but that money may have been promised so many times so many years before, and they are now saying that money is to address climate change. So this is the problem," said Awudi.

"We need to have a good definition now as to how much of the money they send is for climate. Otherwise, the argument won't be settled."

Tim Gore, Oxfam International climate change policy adviser, said a mid-term goal would be helpful to encourage rich countries meet their commitment.

The proposal could be used as a way to provide insurance that climate finances will not dry up next year, said Gore.

"So far there hasn't been support for that from developed countries, and it's not clear whether that would be possible," said Gore.

Developed nations must find new sources of funding outside aid budgets to honor their $100 billion commitment, without diverting money from other anti-poverty priorities such as health and education, he said.

"Each country counts different things in different ways. You can add up the numbers in different ways, it depends on what you count," said Gore.

According to Oxfam research, only one-third of the Fast Start Finance can be considered new money, and at most.

Only 43 percent of known Fast Start Finance has been given as grants, and most of it was in loans that developing countries need to repay at different interest levels.

One priority of the Doha meeting is that a reporting format and accounting framework for long-term finance in the coming years is arranged, he said.

The ministers will arrive during the second week of the meeting, and Gore suggested they set up a roundtable discussion focused on the finance issue.

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