COP 17: Africa calls for clear climate finance benchmarks after failed pledges

The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) is arguing strongly for the need to have agreed benchmarks on climate finance, so as to foster transparency and accountability in the way the money is provided and used, according to a new report released on the sidelines of the ongoing COP17 in Durban, South Africa.

Chaired by Mr. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Group is the group of 53 African countries represented at the UN climate change negotiations.

According to a statement issued by the Information and Communication Service of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the report presents up-to-date figures on the current provision of climate finance for Africa and reveals the abysmally low levels of delivering on global climate change finance promises.

The report, researched and written for AGN by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the ECA, reveals that current finance available for Africa and other developing countries under the fast-start finance is not commensurate to the scale required to implement the activities agreed to in the UN climate convention.

“For example,” according to the statement “the report points to the $29.2 billion pledged since 2009, and states that only between $2.8 and $7.0 billion are “new” or not previously pledged. This means that the total amount of funds that are both ”new” and “additional”, that is on top of aid budgets, would be less than $2 billion.”

The report further reveals that “While 97% of the promised $30 billion has been pledged, only 45% has been “committed”, 33% has been allocated, while a mere 7% has actually been disbursed.”

The report, ECA said, states that finance is being directed towards mitigation projects over adaptation projects, and instead of seeking a minimum of balance, “around 62% of the money has been poured into mitigation and only 25% is earmarked for adaptation and 13% for REDD+ (forestry, which should count as mitigation).”

It points to several lessons that can be learned from the current ‘fast start finance’ system, which was supposed to deliver $30 billion in “new and additional” funding to developing countries, as agreed upon at the Copenhagen climate conference (COP15) in 2009, the UN agency indicated.

Launching the report, Yacob Mulugetta, Senior Energy and Climate Specialist at the ACPC said that “the experience with the “fast-start” pledges and discussions of the $100 billion promise suggests that the adequacy and predictability of climate finance may remain very uncertain if the future climate finance architecture reflects current practice.

“African countries, as well as many other developing countries, are vulnerable to climate change and are among those least likely to have the resources required to withstand its adverse impacts. Yet, there has not been any indication that the magnitude of climate finance will get to the level of what is needed,” Seyni Nafo, Spokesperson of the African Group was quoted as saying.

He pressed the case for long-term climate finance to be made more accountable and transparent, adding that “in Africa, we need to know how much is new, where it is coming from, and whether it will be directed towards adaptation projects that are desperately needed in Africa.”

By Ekow Quandzie

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