Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Finance Ministers must find funds to secure climate deal

The G8 must commit $2bn to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate Oxfam urged ahead of a meeting of Finance Ministers in Lecce, Italy, on 12 and 13 June. The international agency also called for European Finance Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today to back a proposal from European experts for poor countries to receive €100bn ($142bn) a year to help them reduce emissions. Putting money on the table to fund least developing countries' most urgent adaptation needs would be an important first step by rich countries towards delivering on longstanding promises of assistance. At least $50bn per year is needed to assist poor countries deal with the impact of climate change and at least $100bn to help poor countries reduce their emissions.

In 2001, the Least Developed Countries Fund was set-up, and the poorest countries were invited to prepare National Adaptation Plans of Action to address their most urgent adaptation priorities. These plans need $2bn to implement; however, rich countries have committed less than 10% of the money to date. European Finance Ministers, meeting on 9 June, could also address a crucial issue threatening to undermine hopes of a global climate deal by backing a proposal which contains concrete figures on the level of support poor countries need to tackle their emissions. To date rich countries have not said how much public funding they think should be made available.

Rich countries are responsible for two thirds of green house gas emissions currently in the atmosphere but it is the world's poorest people who are being hit first and hardest by the changing climate. In Africa, changes to rainfall are already affecting food production, and rising temperatures are boosting the spread of disease. Antonio Hill, Senior Policy Advisor for Oxfam International said: "Funding to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate has been promised by G8 leaders - but it has largely failed to materialize. These politicians found the determination and $8tr to save the banks. They must now deliver the immediate financing which is needed to help the most vulnerable developing countries adapt to a changing climate."

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