UN exec: Funds for climate change projects inadequate

by Purple S. Romero, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Sep 09 2009 08:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 10 2009 04:51 AM

MANILA - Developed nations have yet to put their money where their mouth is in their pledges to help poor countries survive the onslaught of climate change.  

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak that the financial assistance for the coping strategies of developing nations remains inadequate. 

“The money is there, but it is not enough,” said de Boer, who was in Manila for a visit.

The resources, to be pooled in an adaptation fund, were intended to help the most vulnerable countries establish measures which will help them weather climate change, such as the switch to more drought-resistant agricultural crops and the construction of sea walls.

The adaptation fund will come from a share of the proceeds of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM is a carbon reduction scheme under the Kyoto Protocol, where rich countries acquire carbon credits for financing clean energy projects.

Talks on the adaptation fund have so far been acrimonious because the money to be poured by developed nations initially stood at US$80 million to $300 million, a far cry from the $40 billion-$100 billion adaptation costs estimated by the UNFCCC.

African countries are asking for $67 billion while Bolivia wants a whopping $700 billion.

Underestimated

The International Institute for Environment and Development and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London recently reported that the UNFCCC has “underestimated” the funding required because it discounted the energy, manufacturing, retailing, mining, tourism and ecosystems sectors in their calculations.

They said that the actual budget needed should be 2 to 3 times bigger.

The need to secure an agreement on the actual amount for the adaptation fund has hit a new level of urgency in the face of the upcoming Copenhagen talks in December, where parties are expected to come up with new and more ambitious carbon reduction targets.

De Boer expressed optimism that other venues, such as the forthcoming G-20 meetings in London and in Pittsburgh, USA, could resolve the issue.

In the Philippines, on-going adaptation projects in local communities are being funded bilaterally, or through the World Bank and the UN Development Programme.

The Australian embassy has provided P123 million for the country’s latest adaptation program, which focuses on disaster risk reduction.

De Boer said that while the debate over the adaptation fund continues, developing countries should start to ascertain which sectors--agriculture, health, land--will need financial support the most.

“Developing countries should individually assess their vulnerability so that we will know how much money they need,” he said. - by Purple Romero, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak