Africa Seeks $10b Climate Fund

In a statement to the plenary of heads of state at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-15) to the Kyoto Protocol, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, on behalf of the African Group said the proposed start-up fund, 40 per cent of which should be earmarked for Africa, should be put in a trust fund to be administered by a board of trustees composed of equal number of donor and recipient countries.

Mr. Zenawi proposed that long term funding for adaptation and mitigation should reach up to $100 billion per year by 2020.

A statement made available to The Guardian yesterday by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) quoted Zernawi as saying: “No less than 50 percent of the fund should be allocated to vulnerable and poor countries and regions such as Africa and the small island states for adaptation.”

The prime minister said he was aware that his proposal, which dramatically scales back the continent’s expectation on level of funding “will disappoint those Africans who, from the point of justice, have asked for full compensation of the damage done to our development prospects.”

But he said his proposal would guarantee more reliable funding “and a seat at the table in the management of such funding.”

The prime minister said that Africa had to be flexible because it had more to lose if there was no agreement on climate change.

“We lose more not only because our ecology is more fragile but also because our best days are ahead and lack of agreement here could murder our future even before it is borne,” he said.

He, however, cautioned that Africa’s flexibility should not be confused with desperation.

“Africa is not prepared to accept empty words and agreements that undermine its fundamental interest. We are determined to make sure that in Copenhagen, we will have an agreement that all of us, Africa included, are happy with or there will be no agreement for anyone,” Zenawi submitted.

Meanwhile, the actualisation of Nigeria’s call for a legally binding instrument for combating the effects of climate change in the country may have to wait a little longer judging by the signals which emanated from the ongoing talks in Copenhagen yesterday.

The Nigerian delegation had highlighted desertification, flooding and aforestation as some of the yet visible effects of climate change in the country and called for an international cooperation especially from the richer economies land biggest polluters to stem the tide.

But before the arrival of President Obama yesterday, the negotiators using the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had failed to get over the frustrations of the talks with regard to harmonising the report of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperation Action (AWG-LCA) as well as the one on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).

Leakages of the main inconclusive document of the status of the talks, from the engine room of the COP15 here reaching The Guardian, points to a declaration mandating the two working groups to conclude final negotiations and given a framework that might be adopted in Cancun, Mexico, next year is likely instead of the much awaited agreement now.

But he said his proposal would guarantee more reliable funding “and a seat at the table in the management of such funding.”

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