Green Climate Fund shortlists projects worth $500m

UN-backed fund has identified “promising” ideas and aims to get first cash flowing to poor countries by December

The GCF will support projects to help the poor deal with climate change, such as drought-resistant crops (Pic: Flickr/CIMMYT)

The GCF will support projects to help the poor deal with climate change, such as drought-resistant crops
(Pic: Flickr/CIMMYT)

By Megan Darby

The Green Climate Fund has reviewed 120 requests for cash totalling US$6 billion to help poor countries deal with climate change.

Of these, $500 million worth of projects “look promising”, the UN-backed climate finance initiative’s chief has revealed.

Héla Cheikhrouhou said the body was aiming to get the first projects cleared before this December’s climate summit in Paris.

Speaking at a UN meet in New York on Monday, Cheikrouhou called on rich nations to increase their contributions.

“We have made a good start, but we will need to unlock climate finance at levels well beyond those raised so far,” she said.

A donations drive last year raised US$10.2 billion from 34 countries. That is some way off the US$100 billion a year industrialised nations have pledged to deliver by 2020.

The fund is set to split the cash equally between low carbon development and measures to protect the poor from the impacts of climate change.

That is a departure from previous climate finance efforts, which have skewed towards carbon-cutting ventures like wind farms.

A recent World Bank report found just 18% of US$28 billion spent last year went to protect the vulnerable from flood, drought and sea level rise.

Cheikrouhou emphasised these threats in her speech, citing devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and desertification in her home country of Tunisia.

“The urgent need to act is clear,” she said. “But I am optimistic that we can rise to the challenge, and that the Green Climate Fund can make a significant contribution to the global response.”

Countries are submitting climate action plans to the UN to form the basis of a global pact to be struck in Paris.

For the first time, developing nations are expected to contribute, with Mexico, Gabon and Ethiopia among those to target emissions cuts.

But negotiators have made clear they will need support from the developed world to put these plans into action.

International commitment to climate finance is “crucial” to the prospects of an agreement, Cheikrouhou said.

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