A tale of broken promises – finance and the UN climate talks

COMMENT: Least developed countries deserve more support in the face of evident and increasing threats, says expert

The 2011 drought and famine in East Africa was linked to climate change by the UK's Met Office (Pic: Stuart Price/UN)

The 2011 drought and famine in East Africa was linked to climate change by the UK’s Met Office (Pic: Stuart Price/UN)

By Saleemul Huq

In Lima we celebrated the crossing of the 10 Billion US Dollars mark in terms of pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and we even saw a contribution of 50 Million Euros to the Adaptation Fund (AF) from Germany. 

However, no one remembered the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) which was set up long before the other funds as part of the Marrakech Accords in COP7 in 2001.

It was meant to fund the “Urgent and Immediate” adaptation projects identified and prioritised by each LDC through carrying out a National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).

A few years ago all forty-eight completed and submitted their NAPAs to the UNFCCC and then started to submit the prioritised projects to the LDCF, which is managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), for funding.

After some initial teething problems in disbursing the funds, all LDCS began to get their priority urgent and immediate adaptation projects funded from the LDCF.

So far so good.

The full list of urgent and immediate adaptation projects from all the LDCs will cost a (one time ) amount of two billion USD.

But amount in the fund is less than a Billion and the current pipeline of approved projects is already several hundred million USD more than what is left in the LDCF coffers.

So while there has been a great deal of mutual patting on the back to those countries who have announced pledges of billions to the GCF and tens of millions to the AF it seems they have forgotten the “orphan fund” – the LDCF which was set up to fund the most urgent and immediate adaptation projects in the poorest countries.

Now that there is a pipeline of approved projects ready to start immediately, there is no money left in the fund!

Such amnesia after making pledges by the richest countries to the poorest countries in the UNFCCC does not bode well for building trust in any future pledges and promises.

Saleemul Huq is a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

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