Thursday, December 13, 2007

Africa: Poor Countries Fail in Demand for Control of New Clean Development Mechanism Fund

[11 December 2007] Bali: The fund to help developing countries adapt to global warming has been approved at the United Nations climate change conference in Bali and will become operational in early 2008, a senior UN official announced on 11 December.

Despite resistance from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Adaptation Fund will be controlled by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a 178-member international financing body that helps developing countries fund projects and programmes to protect the global environment.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the Adaptation Fund's decisions would be made by a representative board of 16 members, drawn from various regional groupings.

Control of the fund has been one of the major sticking points dividing the developed and the developing countries at the climate change conference.

Antonio Hill, a climate change policy advisor to the UK-based development agency, Oxfam, explained the developing countries' objections: "[GEF] operates on the one-dollar, one-vote principle - like the World Bank, where the developed countries are in control."

Nasimul Haque, Communication Expert of the climate-change cell of Bangladesh's Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme, commented, "LDCs are extremely upset [over the decision], as we [LDCs] would have liked to have at least 50 percent representation on the board - we should decide what we need to do with our money, which we need now."

He accused the GEF of dragging its feet in handing out money to the LDCs in the past. "Bangladesh and other LDCs, like Kenya, have been suffering from weather-related extreme events every year; the developed world has to realise the urgency of the situation."

Bangladesh serves as the LDC secretariat. "The GEF, which also controls the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), operates the funds like any organisation would handle donations. What it has to realise is that the money being pledged to the fund is our [the LDCs'] right; we are paying the price for the luxuries citizens of the developed world have been indulging in," Haque said.

Historic emissions amount to around 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita for Britain and America, compared with Bangladesh's 0.14 tonnes per capita, one of the lowest in the world.

Here is the full article.