Rich nations compromising promise on climate change adaptations
Research published on Wednesday shows that developed nations are failing to keep the promise they made last year to provide adequate finance to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The paper published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and circulated in a release -includes a five-point plan to enable developed nations to fulfil their pledges and build the trust needed to advance the next session of UN Climate-Change negotiations, which begins on 29 November in Cancun, Mexico.
Dr Achala Chandani of IIED notes that the developing nations pledged to commit US$30 billion to developing nations between 2010 and 2012, at last December’s Climate Summit in Copenhagen with the money balanced between funding for mitigation and adaptation projects.
He says, contrarily, “Our research shows that the developed countries have failed to meet their responsibility to help poorer nations.”
The research shows that funding pledges made since the Copenhagen meeting are far from balanced, with very little earmarked for projects that would enable developing nations to enhance their resilience to climate-change impacts on agriculture, infrastructure, health and livelihoods.
“Only US$3 billion has been formally allocated for adaptation,” says Dr Saleemul Huq of IIED.
“There is also danger that some of this could come in the form of loans which would further indebt already poor nations and force them to pay to fix a problem that the developed nations created.”
The researchers warn that it is unclear how the money would be disbursed, what type of projects it would support, and how the global community would be able to track adherence to pledges and ensure that the funding is truly new and additional to existing aid budgets.
Dr J. Timmons Roberts, Director of the Centre for Environmental Studies at Brown University and Co-Director of the AidData project, complains that, “Currently there is no common framework to oversee, account for and enforce the delivery of the money that rich nations promised to support adaptation to climate change in developing nations.”
“Industrialised nations seem to think they can get away with an ‘anything goes’ approach, where whatever they describe as adaptation funding counts.
He says, “The danger is that existing development projects that are not specific responses to the threat of climate change would simply be relabelled as climate adaptation projects.”
“We have technology now that would allow recipient governments and civil society groups of all types to add their own information about the progress and effectiveness of every adaptation project planned and underway.
Dr Roberts suggests: “By tracking funds all the way from taxpayers in developed nations to each expenditure in the developing countries, this system could create a new era in global cooperation, avoiding many of the pitfalls of past foreign aid.”
Dr David Ciplet, a researcher at Brown University stresses that adaptation funding is absolutely crucial for the billions of people who face the rising intensity of climate disasters, but making promises is only the first step.
He said, “What matters now is that developed countries make good on their promises and provide the funding needed to enable vulnerable countries and communities to increase their resilience to climatic threats such as droughts, floods, rising sea levels and new risks from diseases and crop pests.”