“A camel is a horse made by committee and the Green Climate Fund needs to come out of the blocks like a race horse and start helping poor people”.
This was the comment from Singapore in the opening negotiation session on the Green Climate Fund late Thursday at the UN Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa. Singapore was speaking against the request from Saudi Arabia and some Latin American countries to send the text on the fund to a committee for further discussion. Singapore wants to see the fund up and running by 2012.
At last year’s UN Climate Summit Cancun, Mexico last year, the world agreed to create and finance the Green Climate Fund to the tune of $100bn per year by 2020 to help poor people in developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and develop in less polluting ways. At Cancun, a Transitional Committee was set-up to design the fund and present a proposal at Durban.
After four meetings, most nations had come to agreement on how the fund would work, where the money would go and who would oversee it. Significant comprises were made by many, including countries that are most vulnerable to climate change who wanted increased volumes of finance.
At the session yesterday, Saudi Arabia was joined by Nigeria and some Latin American countries in raising concerns with the proposal. The South African Presidency of the UN Climate Summit is now undertaking informal consultations to fine tune the text and find a way to take it forward.
The challenges of dealing with our changing climate are enormous. Getting the Green Climate Fund up, running and helping poor people deal with climate change is an important outcome that needs to be secured at Durban.
In this the second week of the summity, Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet arrives in town. As one of the key players in discussions around climate finance at Cancun, he can play an influential role in these negotiations. Australia can exercise some middle power diplomacy and as member of the Umbrella group, a key negotiating block that includes the USA, help ensure the Green Climate Fund gets out of the blocks.
Clancy Moore is blogging from the UN Climate Summit (November 28 – December 9) as part of Oxfam’s UN Climate Tracker project.