Fast Start Finance: Mixed Results

4 December 2012

Climate finance is not generosity or voluntary aid – it is a moral and legal obligation of developed countries, and an essential element of a solution to the climate crisis. But concrete commitments to financing are absent here so far. 

Now ECO has heard some grumpy noises from developed countries that their fast start financing and transparency efforts are not sufficiently appreciated. 
While not very sympathetic to the rich countries’ plight, ECO understands how hard it is pry any amount of money out of the hands of finance ministries, especially in difficult economic times. 
Treasuries could well be lacking commitment to resolving the climate crisis, and don’t understand why it is absolutely essential to quickly scale up climate finance and meet all commitments transparently and responsibly.
That’s why ECO is taking this opportunity to recognize the fact that developed countries did in fact deliver some climate finance in the Fast Start Finance period, and that climate negotiators and ministers participating in these negotiations had to work long and hard to steer that financing through government budgeting processes and get it delivered. 
Even Japan, faced with a devastating tsunami and a nuclear disaster, followed through on its plans, such as they were, which accounted for nearly half the FSF commitments.
And ECO also recognizes that developed countries have come under fully justified criticism for their failure to meet the commitment of $30 billion in new and additional public finance, as well as a series of other shortcomings. 
In fact, while developed countries now claim they over-delivered to the tune of $33 billion, independent analyses show that less than one third of these funds are new and additional. 
If those countries think they are being unfairly criticized now, they have no one to blame but themselves. 
By rejecting any kind of common standards for assessing what financing counts towards this goal, and an independent tracking system, they set themselves up for failure.
And now some of them are compounding this error by insisting they have no need to provide any assurance or specific commitments to funding from 2012 onwards. 
This is certainly the wrong lesson to take from fast-start. But that’s another story…

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