Developed countries at the 15th Conference had committed to provide around $30 billion for 2010-12

Developed countries are failing to meet the funding pledges that they made at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December to support developing countries' climate efforts. At the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen, developed countries had committed to provide resources “approaching $30 billion for the period 2010-12”.

This so-called ‘fast start finance' was intended to help the developing countries, in particular the poorest and the most vulnerable, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. Further, the Copenhagen Accord mandated that fast start funds have a “balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation” and are “new and additional.” Fast-start adaptation funding is particularly crucial for poor countries facing rapid climate change.

‘Pledges inadequate'

“But so far, pledges for adaptation from developed countries have been inadequate and unclear,” says a ‘briefing paper' just published by the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). “As of October 2010, donors have pledged highly variable amounts and types of funding, and have set aside only a slim portion for adaptation,” adds the paper.

According to an analysis done by the World Resources Institute (WRI), on which the IIED briefing is based, only about $3.14 billion has been formally allocated for adaptation. “There is also a danger that this could come in the form of loans which would further indebt already poor nations,” notes Dr. Saleemul Huq of the IIED, one of the authors of the paper.

Less adaptation funding

Of the total amount of $28.46 billion fast-start funds pledged so far, adaptation funding represents only 11 to 15.9 per cent, which is clearly far from a ‘balanced' financing of adaptation measures. It should be pointed out here that during climate negotiations, poorer countries have consistently stressed the need for high levels of adaptation funding.

Many developed countries have not provided details of how their pledges will be realised. For instance, Belgium, Finland and France have not indicated their proposed share of adaptation funds. Assuming that they allocate 50 per cent of their pledges to adaptation — as per the Copenhagen Accord mandate — the total adaptation funds add up to only $4.5 billion, 15.9 per cent of all the fast-start funds pledged.

Not ‘new and additional'

Also a number of pledges are not “new and additional.” They are renamed commitments made earlier either under ODA or other. For instance, the U.S. (adaptation component 33.8 per cent) and the U.K. (13.5 per cent) have counted their previous commitments to Climate Investment Funds (CIF) as part of fast-start finance pledge.

More significantly, most of the donors have not specified how they will channel the fast-start funds. Only $250.7 million has been designated to be delivered through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) channels. Of this, the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund specifically has received only $73.9 million in pledges. Large amounts have, however, already been directed to the World Bank and other agencies controlled mainly by the developed countries, the IIED paper points out.

This is contrary to the Copenhagen Accord, which promised delivery of adaptation funds through a mechanism whose governance would give equal representation to developed and developing nations.

In the run-up to the COP-16 negotiations at Cancun, Mexico, beginning on November 29, this clearly points to the continuing lack of trust between developed and developing countries, something that was supposed to be slowly built after the acrimonious Copenhagen Summit.