By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 3 2015 (IPS) - The two-week long Paris summit, which is expected to adopt a landmark international treaty on climate change by mid-December, may be heading for a political showdown over one of the most controversial issues at the ongoing talks: financing.
The 132-member Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing nations, including China, has declared that nothing will be achieved at the summit without the necessary funding both for adaptation and to fight the negative fallout from climate change.
Speaking on behalf of the G77, Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa said many commitments by developed countries, including those related to the pre-2020 period still, remain unrealized.
“There is also, as yet, no clarity on how the six-year old commitment by developed countries– of providing the 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 to developing countries– will be achieved,” the envoy said.
She said developed countries must take the lead to the post-2020 era “by honouring and accelerating the implementation and increase the ambition of their existing commitments on mitigation and provision of finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building support to developing country Parties.”
Meanwhile, the 48 least developed countries (LDCs), described as the poorest of the world’s poor, have reacted negatively to a pledge of some 248 million dollars to the LDC Fund (LDCF) by Western donors.
The pledge was described as a “drop in the ocean”.
LDC Chief Negotiator Giza Gaspar Martins pointed out that the 500 projects identified by the LDCF require more than an estimated 5.0 billion dollars to complete.
But so far, just over 859 million dollars has been made available to the LDCF, including the latest pledge of 248 million dollars, which is sufficient to complete only about 158 projects.
LDC Watch, which represents the interests of the 48 LDCs, said that at this rate, these projects will not be implemented by the targeted end date of 2020.
In a statement released Wednesday, LDC Watch also said it is doubtful the likelihood of this money being received, pointing to the current state of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was established after the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, and has received funds far below the 100 billion dollars a year pledged by developed countries.
Azeb Girmai of LDC Watch said: “Given the experience with the GCF, where we have seen (only) pledge after pledge, but without money on the table, I’m sceptical that this 248 million dollars will ever arrive in full”.
After the 248 million dollar pledge, the governments of the US, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, released a statement in which they said the LDCF plays a key role in addressing urgent and immediate adaptation needs of LDCs, focusing on reducing the vulnerability of sectors and resources that are central to human and national development, such as water, agriculture and food security; and infrastructure, as identified and prioritized in their National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).
The LDCF also supports the national adaptation planning process in coordination with others as a means to reduce medium- and long-term vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant policies, programmes and activities.
From the LDCF’s inception in 2001 through June 2015, 931.5 million dollars has been approved for projects, programmes, and enabling activities to meet this mandate. Projects supported by the LDCF have mobilized 3.8 billion dollars in co-financing in 51 countries, the statement added.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko warned nothing under this Convention will be achieved without the provision of means of implementation to enable developing country Parties to address climate change.
Finance, including for the transfer of technology and capacity building is a crucial and key element of the Paris outcome, she added.
“The outcome regarding finance must provide clarity on the level of financial support that will be provided by developed country Parties to developing country Parties to allow for enhanced implementation of the Convention in the post-2020 period, as well as existing commitment on pre-2020 finance,” she told delegates in Paris.
Asked about the doubts expressed by the Group of 77, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Thursday there are two aspects to this.
First of all, he said, climate financing is a pledge already made by the developed world, namely the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.
It was made in Copenhagen in 2009 — that the 100 billion dollars will be mobilised by 2020.
“I have been urging the developed world leaders that this must be delivered, and there should be a politically credible trajectory of mobilising 100 billion by 2020. This is one very important promise.”
“And, as is already reported, 62 billion dollars has been confirmed [to be] mobilised by the end of 2014. Now, we are talking about 2015, and now we have another five years to go. And everybody said that it is doable, and it can be presented in a credible way,” he added.
Another unresolved issue, he said, is differentiation.
It’s again clear, considering the historical background, developed countries should have historical responsibility to provide the financial and technological support for developing countries, particularly those vulnerable group of countries and small island developing states, Ban said.
“What they are now discussing is that, while we agree on this principle CBDR — Common but Differentiated Responsibilities — there are some countries, depending upon the developing countries, (where) there are different levels of development and varying levels of capacities.”
“Therefore, while we expect that this should be led mainly, by developed countries, there should be certain balancing by some developing countries who can really do.”
A good example is that China has announced 3.0 billion dollars for South-South Cooperation– even though this is not within the CBDR, but they are doing, according to their own capacities, a level of development, he added.
“I think this is something which can be done and agreed harmoniously,” he declared.