Finally, Finance?

5 September 2012

ECO is heartened to have heard that a group of developed countries is considering putting concrete numbers on the table for long-term finance in Doha. In the last year of Fast Start Finance, and with few firm commitments for finance from 2013 onwards currently on the table, this is none too soon. Substantial new and additional climate finance commitments could really help to give a boost to the negotiations going into Qatar.

As ECO has long argued, such commitments would give developing countries some needed reassurance that climate finance is not about to fall off a cliff, but rather start the steady climb towards the US$100 billion per year promise made in Copenhagen and Cancun. Rhetorical reassurances during the negotiations are no match for concrete numbers committed on paper.

Let’s hope that more developed countries reach this enlightened conclusion before Doha. There will be nowhere for them to hide if a group of countries makes a pledge, while they turn up empty handed.

But ECO would also hope that developed countries have learned some lessons from the Fast Start Finance experience, and apply them as they consider their pledge. Don´t forget that ECO has a beady eye for creative accounting tricks that may artificially inflate finance pledges that are actually not new and additional. The potential for trust-building could be undermined if developed countries are seen to be counting spurious finance flows, especially from private finance.

One kind of pledge that is guaranteed to win plaudits from developing countries and ECO alike is a serious commitment to the capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund. No one wants to see a third COP in a row that leaves the GCF as an empty shell. Now is the time to give the political signal of financial support for the fund over the coming years.

After the delays in the Board’s first meeting, a round of pledges to the Fund would be like a shot in the arm to this nascent institution. It would spur efforts to get the Fund up and running and disbursing climate cash to those who need it most as soon as possible. At the end of Bonn, ECO insisted that a sum of $10-15 billion of public finance by 2015 is needed. What better way for developed countries to show they mean business in the negotiations over this period than to take our hint?

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