Rich nations ‘reluctant’ to release funds

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The ongoing UN climate conference has failed to address the adverse impacts of disasters like floods, landslides and droughts in Nepal as the developed countries are reluctant to deliver both pledged and additional funds to combat climate change.

One week into the two-week Conference of Parties (CoP 19) under way in Warsaw, Poland, there is little or no progress on the demands put forward by Nepal on behalf of the Least Developed Countries asking for adequate funds from the developed countries like the United States, Australia and Canada to help vulnerable communities deal with climate-induced disasters.

According to Prakash Mathema, chairman of the LDC group and joint-secretary at the Ministry of Science, Environment and Technology (MoSTE), owing to the lack of adequate funds in Nepal, some of the major climate change programmes, including those identified under the  National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), have failed to be implemented, aggravating the vulnerabilities of communities.

“A major challenge in addressing the problems caused by increasing temperatures and errant weather patterns is the poor capacity of the country to deal with such events. And there is no any alternative to solving the problems without proper funds and technical expertise from the developed countries,” he said, adding, “The major agenda for negotiation during the ongoing conference is the mobilisation of pledged and additional climate funds as compensation for the developed countries’ green house gases emissions to us.”

Nepal formulated the NAPA, a vital document and a prerequisite for the LDCs to access climate change funds under the UN framework, in 2010 to tackle urgent and immediate nine adaptation projects on issues like food security, mountain development, natural hazards and bio-diversity conservation. Though it was estimated that USD 350 million would be required to implement the projects, the government has been able to mobilise only around US$ 37 million from various bilateral and multilateral sources in the past three years.

“From the slow pace of progress in the current negotiations, it is unlikely that Nepal will get additional fund to implement the remaining projects,” Mathema said.

The vulnerable countries’ coalition such as the LDC group, small-island countries and African groups have been demanding funds and mitigation approaches while the countries like the US and the UK have been stating that they are not able to provide additional funds due to budget constraints and economic downfall, Raju Pandit Chettri, a member of core Nepali negotiating team, said.

Meanwhile, a briefing paper released by Oxfam, a UK-based organisation working on climate change policy and finance, in the ongoing conference, stated that most countries’ climate finance levels have decreased over the years. Similarly, the institution’s evaluation of Fast Start Finance showed that most of the funding provided was relabeled or repackaged aid money, which was redirected from the aid and climate-related development aid budgets.

“This was the reason that the latest Official Development Assistant (ODA) provided by the developed countries to the developing countries showed overall declining trend in 2012, and many countries are failing to meet their O.7 percent aid target,” the paper has stated.

In 2009, during the similar UN conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the developed  countries had agreed to provide US $ 30 billion in 2010 to 2012 as fast track finance and US $ 100 billion by 2020 through various finance schemes under the UN climate change regime.

“At present, all the existing finance mechanisms established under the UN regime are either empty or have inadequate funds to provide to the vulnerable and needy countries, affecting the prospect of agreement over a new climate deal by the 2015,” Chhetri said.


This article was first published online by Pragati Shahi under:

17.11.2013, 08:41