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Cancun Climate Talks on last day of negotiations: establishing the Global Climate Fund

Heather Allen

Posted December 10, 2010 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Solving Global Warming

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Negotiators at the COP 16 Climate Talks in Cancun have been working furiously to refine the final package.    Now, as of noon on the final day of the two week meeting we are waiting for the newest version of the text to be released.  Last night country delegates hovered over the text discussing the fine points of the potential outcome throughout the night.  The lucky people like me made it home around 1 am.  But the country delegates were too busy to sleep at all.   They were working on all of the elements: clean technology, building resilience to climate impacts, and recording emissions reductions pledges to encourage further ambition.  Emissions reductions and monitoring those actions remain central to the discussions but another crucial element is the Global Climate Fund which will be essential for the balanced package.

Last year in the final moments of the COP-15 Climate Talks negotiation, countries agreed to establish the Climate Fund in the Copenhagen Accord saying:

We decide that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programs, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity-building, technology development and transfer.

Here in Cancun it’s time to build on that commitment and fill in more details to allow the fund to deliver critical climate activities.  The Fund will be essential to reduce global warming emissions from the developing world in the near term, serving as a source of funding for the transition to clean energy and reducing emissions from deforestation.  Funding will also be directed to help countries to lessen the devastating impacts of climate change.

So what are the key elements of the Global Climate Fund structure under consideration here in Cancun?

         Getting Started

Details about the timing of the creation of the fund are still in play.  There is an urgency to establish the structure as soon as possible to advance action to reduce global warming emissions.  Some are hoping that there will be a deadline to make sure the fund is operating or begins to operate by the next COP to be held in Durban South Africa.

         Fund Management

The United States is strongly advocating for the World Bank to serve as an trustee for the fund.  Some countries are opposed to the Bank serving in this role because of its history questionable energy investments and other concerns. There is an option to have them serve in the interim which may serve to address those concerns, and just last night China offered a new proposal for the Global Environmental Facility to serve as the trustee.   

Environment and humanitarian organizations are concerned about the managment of the fund.  They point to worries about governance, access to the funds, equity, indigenous rights and the rights of vulnerable people like women to have full participation in the delivery of the Climate Fund monies and activities.  And negotiators will have to work carefully to ensure equitable access, transparency and safeguards are in place for the fund.  Nevertheless negotiators here understand the imperative of the fund to begin to deliver.  As Dr. Robert Glasser, Secretary General of CARE International said:

We are at a historic crossroads. There is an urgent need for the global community to tackle the climate change challenge. Lack of timely action in our generation will cause human suffering in future generations – and is already impacting the lives of poor people. Political leaders need to recognize that weak action at the negotiations will exasperate poverty.

Rumors abound that some of these details have been agreed but there is no way to know until we see the newest text in a few minutes.  As President Patricia Espinosa said last night – finance is a central element of this package.  If compromise has been reached the countries working here in Cancun may have made progress toward establishing a Global Climate Fund.  Allowing the new fund to begin to work quickly will help the world implement actions to reduce emissions and lessen the impacts of climate change.

Stay tuned!

 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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