Panel aims to find 'new and innovative' ways to fund climate adaptation

by Laurie Goering | @lauriegoering | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 12 February 2010 16:41 GMT

LONDON (AlertNet) Â? A new high-level panel of world leaders, bankers and finance and development experts will have until December to find ways to quickly raise billions of dollars to help developing nations deal with the impact of climate change, the U.N. Secretary-General said on Friday.

The panel, led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is tasked with rapidly finding "new and innovative" ways of raising money to meet pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

That deal, signed at the Copenhagen climate summit in December, calls for richer countries to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to assist developing nations in curbing their emissions and adapting to the impact of climate change.

It also promises $10 billion in initial "quick start" funding from 2010 to 2012, part of a pledge to move the drawn-out climate talks from negotiations to action.

The aim is to develop "practical proposals on how to significantly scale-up long-term financing" from a variety of public and private sources, with an emphasis on new ideas, Ban said.

Some of those already under discussion among analysts range from a tax on financial transactions to contributions of a share of profits from carbon trading.

The new panel, which is supposed to deliver its recommendations by the next major climate summit in Mexico at the end of the year, will include an even number of developed and developing world members, heads of state, senior ministers, central bank officials, and finance and development experts, the secretary-general said.

He said the world had "a moral imperative" to assist millions of people around the world who do not have the resources to cope with the changes climate change is expected to bring, including worsening droughts, floods, storms and other more severe and unpredictable weather.

Many of those people live in Africa, low-lying coastal Asian cities and large delta regions around the world, in nations that have contributed little to the accumulation of carbon emissions that are now driving global climate change.

Helping them is "a smart investment in a safer, more sustainable world for all," he said.

Advocates for the world's poor said the test of the new panel's effectiveness will be its ability to turn ideas into action, and ensure the money committed is not just repackaged aid drawn away from other development efforts.

"The high level panel cannot be just another talking shop," said Robert Bailey, OxfamÂ?s senior policy adviser. "At the end of the year it must make concrete recommendations on how $100 billion should be raised, how much countries must contribute and how the money should be managed.

"It must make the decisions politicians failed to make in Copenhagen," he said in a statement.

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