Funding for adaptation takes a significant step forward!

June 16th, 2010

The last couple of days I have been attending the tenth meeting of the Adaptation Fund Board, a new body in its 3rd year of operation. It was set up to disburse funds generated by a small levy on projects designed to generate emissions reductions (under the Clean Development Mechanism.) The Board is innovative in two ways: it allows governments from developing countries to apply directly for funds, rather than through another UN agency, and it has a majority of members from developing countries. At this meeting the Board was able to recommend that four outline proposals for adaptation programmes were developed into full proposals ready for funding. These will be in Senegal, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Solomon Islands. This is a milestone! Rather few government-proposed programmes for adaptation have so far been funded by the UN climate change convention, and this new Fund so far looks like being quicker at processing applications than any other fund.

This meeting has a much better feeling about it than the negotiations on climate change that I was attending for the past fortnight, where there were few positive outcomes in moving towards an international agreement. One of these was the indication that the US might now support a new fund for large scale new climate finance under the control of the climate change convention, rather than insisting that all funding goes through the World Bank, a position strongly opposed by most developing countries. There are also indications that developed countries are coming up with the ‘fast start finance’ pledged in Copenhagen and are getting the message that this must be new money, not aid money repackaged for climate change related projects.

One really low point in the talks came on Thursday, when the vulnerable small island states asked for a review of the climate change science, on the implications of keeping temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. Most countries came out in support; however Saudi Arabia was against it, saying there was no need for the review, that all the scientific information was available and those countries that needed it could get it from Google!

On a much lighter note, on Friday last Oxfam did a stunt outside the conference centre, with G8 leaders playing football (with the world), with no rules, just passing the ball (our planet) from one to another, and no attempt to score!

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