Fast Start Finance

‘Fast-start finance’, ‘kick-start finance’, ‘short-term finance’ -- no matter the name, it must be a success if we are to rebuild trust on the broader climate agenda in the wake of Copenhagen, and lay the groundwork for the greatly expanded post-2012 climate finance regime.    ECO noticed fresh new faces in the plenary yesterday, so it would do no harm to reiterate some elements that are critical to ensure that this fast-arriving period of ‘fast-start finance’ is legitimate and effective. Transparency and coordination to report on funds provided is essential to ensuring countries meet their pledges and that these funds are indeed new and additional. Along these lines, ECO was pleased to hear the EU pledge yesterday to ‘submit coordinated reports on implementation [of its €2.4 billion per year fast-start pledge] in Cancún and thereafter on an annual basis.”  We call on other developed countries to make similar pledges, but we have some questions for the EU: will your fast start funding be additional to the 0.7% of GDP development assistance goal? And will it be new money?  Failing to meet the $30 billion committed in Copenhagen over the next three years would clearly destroy any chance of meaningful progress in Cancun.  But simply repackaging old aid money also wouldn’t send strong signals to the international community that developed countries are doing their part. Always wanting to be constructive, ECO draws attention to the fact that there are several funds with genuine ownership by developing countries that stand ready to put fast-start funds to immediate good use: the Convention’s Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund, and the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund. And now ECO hears at least one country – the US – has indicated that it will potentially cut off its fast-start flow to some developing countries that have not associated with the Copenhagen Accord.  Officials from other countries have also hinted in public about such a pressurizing strategy. Let us be clear: this strategy is absolutely unacceptable, and climate funding must be available to all developing countries that want to take serious action.  Some Parties have not associated with the Accord for the very reason that it falls well short of the emissions reduction – most of all in developed countries like the US – needed to reduce the existential risk to their lands from a marauding climate.  ECO strongly suggests the US to reconsider this ill-advised plan, and that no other developed country go down this road.

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