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Poorest nations given less climate funding

By Agence France-Presse in Lima | China Daily | Updated: 2014-12-09 08:06

Half of nearly $8 billion in climate finance given to the developing world since 2003 went to just 10 countries, and nations most at risk got the short end of the stick, a report said on Sunday.

The top recipients were Morocco, Mexico and Brazil, which each received more than $500 million of the $7.6 billion total, according to an analysis of spending over the last decade in 135 countries.

The report by the Overseas Development Institute, a UK think tank, was released ahead of the second and final week of UN negotiations in Lima for a world pact to curb potential global warming.

"Mexico and Brazil are among the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases, and with Morocco, all have huge renewable energy potential," a statement said.

However, many of the poorest countries were left behind.

"Conflict-affected and fragile states such as Cote d'Ivoire, where it is generally difficult to spend finance, received less than $350,000 and $700,000," the ODI statement said.

"Several middle income countries that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and have significant clean energy potential, such as Namibia, El Salvador and Guatemala, also received less than $5 million each."

The aid from rich nations is meant to help poor and vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change and curb Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions through a shift away from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.

Funding for adaptation rocketed from $3.8 million in 2003 to $2 billion this year, the report said.

"Poor countries such as Niger, Bangladesh and Nepal have received nearly $400 million over the last decade to help them cope with this growing threat."

However, the 10 most vulnerable nations, including Somalia, the Solomon Islands, Burundi, Niger and Eritrea, benefited from only seven percent of adaptation aid.

"Effective use of climate finance will help win the support of poor countries which have contributed the least to climate change but bear the brunt of its impacts," report author Smita Nakhooda said.

Lives depend on it

Finance is a sore point at the UN climate talks, with developing nations insisting that rich economies show how they intend to honor promises to muster up to $100 billion in climate finance per year from 2020.

To date, nearly $10 billion in startup capital had been promised for the Green Climate Fund, the main vehicle for channeling the money.

Funds need to become less risk averse and more flexible when it comes to donor conditions and scrutiny.

"There are many small climate funding 'pots' with substantial overlap and finance is spread too thinly between them," Nakhooda said.

"The lives of millions of people in poor countries affected by climate change depend on getting this right."

Poorest nations given less climate funding

(China Daily 12/09/2014 page12)

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