While people in vulnerable countries are struggling to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate, securing new and additional funds for climate change adaptation and mitigation is critical to developing countries.
Under the United Nations climate change agency, the Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), rich countries pledged $30 billion for the period 2010-2012 and to ramp up long-term Green Climate Fund of about $100 billion a year by 2020. These funds are meant to support poorest countries to adapt to the inevitable climate change impacts.
Just this week, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) hosted the 1st UN Long-Term Finance meeting in Manila aimed at looking at the parameters of pathways for mobilizing scaled-up climate finance and look at enabling environments and policy frameworks on climate finance.
“When we talk about the promised $100 billion per year by 2020, it is a figure that still pales in comparison to what is really needed to ensure we effectively address the climate change challenge, especially in terms of poorer countries being able to cope and adapt,” CCC Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering said during the meeting.
Sering added that in order to minimize the impacts of climate change, there is a need to identify “vulnerabilities and strategically plan adaptation efforts” and that financial resources are needed implement climate adaptation and mitigation measures.
She said that through the People’s Survival Fund, the Philippine government has allocated an initial P1 billion to support adaptation and mitigation efforts in the country.
“ But being a highly vulnerable country, we need to prepare for more extreme climate events that might cause greater damages than what (typhoons) Ondoy, Sendong, and Pablo brought us,” Sering said. “We need to have a clear mechanism on climate financing for developing countries which are more likely to bear the brunt of the changing climate.”
In an earlier assessment by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), it shows that climate finance pledges has been lagging, adding that in May 2012 report of the United Nations, only $23.6 billion of the $30 billion promised had been committed. It said that the European Union, United States, Canada and New Zealand have indicated that they will make additional fast-start contributions by the end of the period.
“ One of the key stipulations of the fast-start finance was to strike a balance between adaptation and mitigation funding. So far, this has not been achieved,” the IIED report stated.
Another report from the Oxfam suggested that the developing nations were deprived of $30 billion funds by the rich countries which they had committed to transfer between 2010 and 2012.
It found out that merely one-third of total amount till now is the new money and just 24 percent of this amount was in addition to the existing commitments of aid. It said that the developed nations spent just 21 percent of this amount on adaptation. Developed nations need to make the solid financial commitments for 2013-2020 time period.
CCC Commissioner Naderev M. Saño, who has been appointed by the presidency of the UNFCCC as the Developing Country Co-chair for the Long-Term Finance program, said that the meeting looks at the mechanism on how to mobilize the necessary financial resources as well as to craft viable financial policies.
“The results of this meeting of experts, together with other activities under this program, will be used to inform world leaders so that they can make the crucial decisions on climate change financing and marshal the required political will to turn things around,” Sano said in a statement. “When we speak about climate change finance, there is no room for procrastination or delay, because for every single day that passes, the most vulnerable communities around the world face the dire consequences.”
A need to act now
Climate activists led by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (AKP) and the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) trooped outside of the experts’ meeting demanding governments for just climate action and financing.
According to PMCJ, new climate finance structure must now provide new and additional funds that prioritize public investments as a main source for climate financing.
“Private finance should be limited. Developed countries and corporations must not rake in profits off the misery and devastation experienced by vulnerable communities. On the contrary, climate finance is precisely to hold developed countries liable to the climate crisis.” Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Arances said.
Arances added that PMCJ will continue to demand developed countries “to start their payment for their long overdue climate debt and to call for immediate and drastic cuts on their greenhouse gas emission until they fully commit.”
“Climate finance must not come in the form of loans or debt-creating instruments. Instead of further pushing developing countries into indebtedness, developed countries must own up their responsibility to provide climate finance.”, said Atty. Aaron Pedrosa of FDC.
photo credit: Climate Change Commission and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
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