Damp spirits ahead of Geneva Climate Finance Conference

Representatives from around 40 governments meet today in Geneva to consolidate on the discussions held at Copenhagen last year, ahead of November’s Cancun UN Climate Change Conference.

Representatives from around 40 governments meet today in Geneva to consolidate on the discussions held at Copenhagen last year, ahead of November’s Cancun UN Climate Change Conference. Issues likely to be discussed at the two-day informal ministerial meeting include a new global climate fund, the role of the private sector, and the oversight of climate finance.

The meeting is expected to see developed countries elaborate on their exact plans for raising the funding targets agreed in Denmark: producing a fund of $30 billion over the next three years, rising to $100 billion per year by 2020, to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

However, climate change activists remain despondent at the chances of the world’s nations co-operating seriously over the funding.

There is concern over the misleading use of targets, with old money being dressed up as new. Japan, for instance, has pledged $15 billion by 2012. But most of this comes from a previous commitment, agreed in 2008.

Following a week-long meeting in Bonn, Germany, this August, US deputy special climate envoy Jonathan Pershing voiced his concern that negotiations over climate change were stalling.

“I came to Bonn hopeful of a deal in Cancun, but at this point I am very concerned as I have seen some countries walking back from progress made in Copenhagen.

In theory, it should not be hard to raise the funds. The British economist Nicholas Stern told delegates at Bonn that the working group set up to investigate how the $100bn a year could be raised was making good progress. The problems lie in diplomacy. Developing countries remain suspicious “that rich nations have big mouths, deep pockets and short arms”.

Green campaigners, however, are still critical of the Copenhagen agreements. lena Gerebizza, of Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, recently announced that

“The $100 billion figure that many developed countries are discussing is not science-based and has no standing in the international negotiations.”

And although Gordon Shepherd, head of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative, remains hopeful that the Geneva Conference could be “highly influential if they get it right,” the WWF website is notably more circumspect:

“There is little transparency on the delivery of the promised short term funding that has been made available already, and there has been little visible progress towards a framework for delivery on longer term funding commitments.”

Raman Mehta, of ActionAid India, was firm in his insistence that climate change funding to developing countries must not be shackled with conditionality:

“A new global climate fund should be established under the authority of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change with equitable and balanced representation, effective participation of affected communities in all decision-making, direct access to funding by developing countries, and no economic or other policy conditionality.”

“The World Bank and other existing international financial institutions must not have any role in governing, managing, or directing the design of the fund.”

Unfortunately for Mehta, it appears that the World Bank, though not officially invited to Copenhagen, will be attempting to exert influence there.

7 Responses to “Damp spirits ahead of Geneva Climate Finance Conference”

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