India warns UN climate deal in 2015 hinges on finance

India sends climate finance warning, as initial capitalisation of Green Climate Fund begins

Pic: sandeepachetan.com travel photography/Flickr

Pic: sandeepachetan.com travel photography/Flickr

By Sophie Yeo

India has warned that the success of the 2015 UN deal will depend on whether rich countries are able to fill the coffers of the US$ 100billion Green Climate Fund.

According to a report in the Indian Business Standard newspaper, Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar told French foreign minister Laurent Fabius that transfer of green technologies and funds for developing countries from the developed world would be vital for success at the Paris meeting.

The money could also be used to buy intellectual property rights (IPRs) of clean technologies so that they could be distributed in poor countries, he said.

This has historically been a source of tension between developed and developing countries; contrary to claims by the latter, a 2009 report commissioned by the EU found that IPRs owned by rich countries did not impede developing countries’ climate policy goals.

Rich nations have promised to provide $100 billion every year from 2020 through the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Initial pledges to this Fund are due in November, though there is not yet a definitive list of which countries will contribute, and how much.

In an interview with Reuters, Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said Oslo would present a pledge at a climate summit organised by UN chief Ban Ki-moon in September.

RTCC understands the UK and Germany are also likely to come forward with funds.

Both UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and incoming COP president Manuel Pulgar Vidal have called for an initial capitalisation of $10 billion.

Others, including some developing countries and the head of the Green Climate Fund, have called for an initial $15 billion sum.

Capitalisation

A Green Climate Fund meeting which concluded in Oslo yesterday began the process of resource capitalisation.

The meeting was to bring together those interested in contributing to the Fund. There were 24 countries represented in total, including seven developing countries: Columbia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Republic of Korea and South Africa.

Developed countries present included the US, UK, Norway, France and a last minute confirmation by Russia.

According to Henrik Harboe, Director of Development Policy at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and chair of the meeting, the number of developing countries who had expressed interest was a positive sign for the Green Climate Fund.

He said it was “no coincidence” that many of those attending were Latin American countries, many of which support breaking down the old binary division between developed and developing countries at the UN climate negotiations.

But he added that the absence of other developing countries was a sign that many were still waiting to see if rich countries were prepared to deliver on their $100 billion promise before putting their own budgets on the line.

“I think that between China, Brazil and India there has been a deliberate decision among them not to go to this first meeting to demonstrate that this is for the rich countries and then they will see how this develops,” he said.

Africa Group

Harboe added that there was “some tension” between developed and developing countries at the Oslo meeting, with the latter “impatient” to see some figures on the table.

A letter to Green Climate Fund board co-chairs by Africa representatives seen by RTCC highlights ongoing concerns over how the money will be delivered.

Written by Omar El-Arini and Zaheer Fakir, African GCF Board Members, it says that the contributions should be mainly grants not loans, and that levels of funding should be determined by what the GCF needs, as opposed to what developed countries say they can provide.

“Rather the focus ought to be on what difference the Fund can/will make in the initial result areas with what amount of funding over what time period?” they write, adding: “The Board should not accept grant contributions below a threshold of 85-90% of the total level of contributions on a no-exception basis.”

Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to the impacts of climate change, but the least financially equipped to deal with the problem.

This is the second paper presented by the African Board members on the initial resource mobilisation process, in an effort to forge a role and common position for themselves and other developing countries within the discussions.

Analysts believe that if these are not properly addressed the ability of the Fund to meet its objectives will be hampered.

The Africa Group also called for more focus on how the GCF will be different from other development banks.

“It needs to be unique and innovative,” they write, adding that its resource mobilisation process and other systems should not simply echo existing banks.

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