Developed Nations Failing To Keep Copenhagen Funding Promise

Developed nations are failing to keep thepromise they made last year to provide adequate finance to help theworld’s poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change,according to research published last week.

The paper–published by the International Institute for Environment andDevelopment (IIED)–includes a five-point plan to enable developednations to fulfil their pledges and build the trust needed to advancethe next session of UN climate-change negotiations, which begin on 29November in Cancun, Mexico.

"In last December’s climate summit in Copenhagen the developed countries committed to provide developing nations with US$30 billion between 2010 and 2012, with the money balanced between funding for mitigation andadaptation projects," says Achala Chandani of IIED. "Our research showsthat the developed countries have failed to meet their responsibility to help poorer nations."

The research shows that funding pledges made since the Copenhagenmeeting are far from balanced, with very little earmarked for projectsthat would enable developing nations to enhance their resilience toclimate-change impacts on agriculture, infrastructure, health andlivelihoods.

"Only US$3 billion has been formally allocated for adaptation," says DrSaleemul Huq of IIED. "There is also a danger that some of this couldcome in the form of loans which would further indebt already poornations and force them to pay to fix a problem that the developednations created."

The researchers warn that it is also unclear how the money will bedisbursed, what type of projects it will support, and how the globalcommunity will be able to track adherence to pledges and ensure that the funding is truly new and additional to existing aid budgets.

"Currently there is no common framework to oversee, account for andenforce the delivery of the money that rich nations promised to supportadaptation to climate change in developing nations,” says Dr J. TimmonsRoberts, Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at BrownUniversity and co-director of the AidData project.

“Industrialised nations seem to think they can get away with an“anything goes” approach–where whatever they describe as adaptationfunding counts,” adds Roberts. “The danger is that existing developmentprojects that are not specific responses to the threat of climate change will simply be relabelled as climate adaptation projects.”

The researchers say that to rebuild trust on both sides of theNorth-South divide, industrialised countries should support anindependent registry under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and then provide it with detailed and timely data and on all theirclimate-related projects.

"We have technology now that would allow recipient governments and civil society groups of all types to add their own information about theprogress and effectiveness of every adaptation project planned andunderway,” adds Roberts. “By tracking funds all the way from taxpayersin developed nations to each expenditure in the developing countries,this system could create a new era in global cooperation, avoiding manyof the pitfalls of past foreign aid."

David Ciplet, a researcher at Brown University adds: "The big promisesfor adaptation funding made at Copenhagen are not being met. Rather, afragmented non-system for deciding what counts as adaptation funding isforming, and there is no way to truly measure whether the promises arebeing met."

"Adaptation funding is absolutely crucial for the billions of people who face the rising intensity of climate disasters, but making promises isonly the first step,” says Ciplet. “What matters now is that developedcountries make good on their promises and provide the funding needed toenable vulnerable countries and communities to increase their resilience to climatic threats such as droughts and floods, rising sea levels andnew risks from diseases and crop pests."

The full paper is available here.

In Related News…

China is the world’s biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases from humanactivity stoking global warming, having outstripped the United States.Those two powers will play a big part in determining whether climatepact talks in Cancun can make progress toward a comprehensive deal.

Read the full Reuters story at the link below.


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