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Environment groups: Get Climate Change Fund up and running

Friday, December 2, 2011

Non-government environment groups have called on countries attending the UN Climate Change Conference in South Africa to reach consensus on operationalising the Green Climate Change Fund that will channel US$100 billion a year in aid to developing nations. Countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Venezuela, have raised concerns about the fund, including its legal personality, national designated authorities and the role of the private sector. “We need to see parties adopting the instrument on the Green Climate Change Fund,” Kelly Dent from Oxfam said yesterday. “We need to see the fund up and running, we need to see money from rich countries in the fund and to see climate action on the ground,” Illana Solomon from Action Aid, USA said the concerns of the countries were real and additional decisions would have to be made on the fund.

Although many countries are facing economic challenges, Solomon said “rich countries can afford to the raise the funds they have promised.” The vast majority of parties at the climate change conference, including the European Union (EU), Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and less developed countries support the Fund's governing instrument. Leaders of 16 environmental groups have also written to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticising the administration’s negotiating stance in Durban and said it risks upending the critical step of launching the Green Climate Fund.

They said agreement to establish the Fund was among the most important achievements of the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun last year. “Concrete steps towards getting the Fund up and running, particularly agreement on the Fund’s governing instrument, board, and transitional arrangements, are essential to the overall success of Durban and to progress on international climate action,” the groups wrote.