The road to Lima, Peru to prepare the world for a universal climate deal in 2015 may not be easy. With only four months left, rich nations must come up with substantial initial fund pledges to build the trust needed to address the global climate crisis.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) board, which aims to assist developing nations adapt to the changing climate and transform into low carbon economies, said it seeks to raise as much as $15 billion by the end of this year and to soon start disbursing money for climate-related projects.
The coming months will be crucial for many rich nations to make some key decisions to provide financial support to developing nations where the GCF is to receive at least $10 billion pledges for its initial phase, according to the GCF board.
A test of political will
Earlier, the Norwegian government pledged $1 billion for the operationalization of the GCF this year.
GCF co-chair Joey Salceda, who is in Oslo, Norway for the 1st contributors’ meeting, said that “at this meeting, we are taking the first important step, a small but significant step in the full operationalization of the Fund, and the eyes of the world are upon us.”
“ It lies within our hands to make this Fund one that meets the challenges before us, and to achieve the ultimate objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and provide support to developing countries in their efforts to address climate change and its adverse effects,” Salceda said in a statement.
Even now, Salceda added, all countries of the world are acting to meet this challenge. “ Developing countries are contributing their share, much of it through the use of their own resources. The Fund should allow them to do so much more,” he said.
Salceda stressed that climate change is an environmental challenge that threatens all life on earth; a security challenge that is increasingly recognized; and an economic challenge that also represents opportunities.
“ There is no longer any choice: we must pay now, or pay more later if we delay action,” Salceda said. “The Green Climate Fund is the only fund dedicated to addressing this challenge. It is our Fund on which high hopes are placed, especially in the developing world.”
Salceda added that “for many developing countries, it is a daily challenge for survival. We are acutely aware of this in the Philippines, and it is happening in all regions of the world.”
The Green Climate Fund is the only fund dedicated to addressing this challenge. It is our Fund on which high hopes are placed, especially in the developing world, he added.
Accessing climate and disaster risk financing
Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair Mary Lucille Sering said the long-term climate financing is one of the crucial and important aspects to address the climate change challenge.
Sering said 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.
“The swift operationalization of the GCF for instance is a big step in assisting poorer nations to adapt to and cope with the worsening impacts of climate change,” Sering said.
She added that, “ Vulnerable countries, like the Philippines, are committed in exercising leadership by putting in place policies and domestic financing strategies to make our economies resilient. But we need international support, too.”
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 GCF of about $100 billion a year by 2020. These funds are meant to support poorest countries to adapt to the inevitable climate change impacts.
Cornerstone of climate finance
Last May this year, the GCF board met in Songdu, South Korea and agreed on rules to operationalize the fund. The agreement includes procedures in ensuring a socially and environmentally sound investment, guidelines on who can distribute money from the GCF and on how much control countries will have over projects it will support.
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres earlier said,“ The GCF will be a prime global channel to deliver public funds and to leverage private sector finance so that developing countries can build resilience against climate change and green their economies. There is now every reason to speedily mobilize the initial capitalization of the GCF, which should be at least $10 billion”
Figueres stressed that the completion of the Fund’s institutional design and its initial resource mobilization can also provide new impetus towards a successful conclusion of a global climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.
Written By Imelda V. Abano
--Asian Developmental Journalist of the Year, 2009
-- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) media fellow 2008-2014
-- Council of Leaders of the US-based Earth Journalism Network;
--Board of Director of the US-based Society of Environmental Journalists
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