African countries demand $7 billion for green fund by December

DRC envoy says capitalisation of fund by end of 2014 is a “red line” for developing world

(Pic: Lance Cheung/Flickr)

(Pic: Lance Cheung/Flickr)

By Sophie Yeo in Marrakech

Rich nations have been warned that unless they cough up for the Green Climate Fund by December, chances of a UN climate deal in 2015 will be dead. 

The 54-strong Africa Group wants to see at least US$ 7 billion by the time the next round of international climate talks start in Lima later this year, according to Tosi Mpanu Mpanu an envoy from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

“If that key is not turned, we believe we will not turn the Paris key,” he told RTCC on the sidelines of a climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco.  

Mpanu Mpanu added that US$10 bn, a target set by GCF chief Hela Cheikhrouhou, was a “realistic” assessment of what they hoped to see by Lima, while $7 billion represented their “red line” figure.

In 2009 wealthy countries promised to deliver $100 billion a year by 2020, a large chunk of which was to be channeled through the GCF. But so far a fraction of that has been delivered. 

The GCF has $2.3 bn in pledges, with France and Germany offering $1 bn each. 

More countries could come forward at a “pledging summit” scheduled for November 19-20 in Berlin, just two weeks before the Lima talks commence. 

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African countries hope they will be one of the main beneficiaries of the fund, which is aimed at driving low carbon infrastructure and energy investments in poor countries. 

Over 20% of the world’s population is still without electricity, and around 500 million Africans lack access to adequate power and lighting. 

Gambia alone needs $1 billion investment in power networks by 2024. 

Developing countries are expected to start proposing specific projects for investment early in 2015, so the GCF can assess and allocate funding. 

Mpanu-Mpanu said he hoped the GCF could be a “game changer” and that he wanted many of the projects to be proposed by African countries themselves.  

But Africa’s capacity to use the funds once they have become available remains one of the central issues, with many fearing countries lack the necessary frameworks to make sure the money is used for its intended purpose.

Fatima Denton, coordinator African Climate Policy Centre, part of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said it was still unclear whether the GCF could be a partner for the continent. 

“We have to begin to say, what can these instruments do for us? How can we use these instruments?” she said. 

Denton  said that clear national strategies must be in place if Africa is to attract the private finance that is expected to constitute much of the $100 bn.

Sophie Yeo’s travel to Marrakech was paid for by the African Climate Policy Centre

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