Vulnerability is Not a Beauty Contest

1 December 2010

In recent UNFCCC sessions some developing countries that are not small island states, LDCs or African countries have challenged the Bali Action Plan language specifying those three groups of countries as being particularly vulnerable. This has led to an unhelpful contest within the Group of 77 and China.  ECO believes that with increasing impacts of climate change around the world, such as the devastating floods in Pakistan earlier this year, it is undeniable that all countries are now vulnerable, even developed countries.
However, in the context of the UNFCCC process it is not helpful to compete on which country is more vulnerable than another.  Instead, the focus should be more explicit and open about the main issue which is how to allocate the currently very limited adaptation funds across different countries, with a view to the urgency of their situations.
ECO urges Parties to discuss the possible elements of an adaptation resource allocation framework that takes the impacts of increased climate vulnerability into account along with other relevant attributes such as poverty and gender.
We believe that this discussion needs to be held primarily among the developing countries and a smaller group should be mandated to work further on this issue. This group should include representatives from LDCs, SIDS and African countries, as well as others. Such a representative body already exists in the Adaptation Fund Board with its 32 members including representatives from all UN country groupings.
We suggest that parties could mandate the AFB itself to address this issue by providing options by COP17 next year. The AFB, which meets in Cancun immediately after COP 16, can in turn solicit expert advice and report back to the COP next year with its recommendations. Alternatively, the LCA could allocate more time over this coming year to develop thinking on these issues than has been possible thus far, taking into account the knowledge and experience of the AFB. Furthermore, ECO encourages BASIC countries and others to come forward and voice their support for prioritisation of funding to the most vulnerable countries, such as LDCs, SIDS and African countries – indeed, the definition in the Bali Action Plan.

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