Global Policy Forum

Rich States Accused of Blocking UN Climate Talks Over Finance

Several Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have accused the United States and Japan of  blocking funding for vulnerable countries to address climate change, even though they asked the LCDs to implement specific climate change initiatives. Though rich nations committed to provide $100 billion in climate finance by 2020, they failed to agree on ways to donate or distribute the money.

By Megan Rowling

October 6, 2011

African and least-developed countries have accused the United States and Japan of blocking progress on finance to help vulnerable states address climate change at U.N. talks in Panama this week, a tactic that threatens the outcome of the climate summit in Durban at the end of the year, they said. 

The United States says long-term climate finance was addressed at last year's summit in Cancun and there is no mandate to discuss it further, a position reiterated by Japan, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the African Group and Least-Developed Country Group at the negotiations. Other developed countries have also sought to stall progress, they added.

That stance has stopped a text being tabled on climate finance as the basis for negotiations, despite the Panama gathering being the last before Durban, and despite texts being tabled on other issues favoured by developed countries, said the groups, which represent more than 70 nations present at the talks, which end on Friday.

"Agreement on long-term finance must be at the foundation of the deal in Durban," said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu from the Democratic Republic of Congo and chair of the African Group. "We have demonstrated good faith in discussing new responsibilities for developing countries, (so) we expect good faith from our partners in discussions (on) how to implement their existing finance commitments."

Developing countries say there are no concrete finance pledges due to start in 2013, after the Copenhagen promise to provide up to $30 billion in "fast start" climate finance between 2010 and 2012. Rich nations have committed to provide an annual $100 billion in climate finance by 2020, but the details remain sketchy. 

The sources of the funding - and how it will be provided in a predictable and transparent manner - are yet to be confirmed, said the statement from the African and LDC groups.

At the same time, industrialised nations are asking developing countries to take on new commitments to curb climate change, they said.

Poorer countries have also complained that rich nations are disbursing "fast start" funds too slowly, and that much of this money is not new because it is being diverted from existing aid budgets.

Developing countries have called for a meeting to discuss how to get the negotiations back on track and to ensure issues move forward in parallel, they said.

The two groups said they expect the Durban summit to yield agreement on the sources and scale of public money to be provided by developed countries from 2013, on a common reporting format to enhance transparency in the provision of new and additional financial resources, and on making the fledgling U.N. Green Climate Fund operational, among other things.


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