WWF welcomes new financing proposal, but long-term finance still needed

Posted on 17 December 2009  | 
Copenhagen, Denmark - As talks heat up in Copenhagen, several countries put forward additional fast-start financing proposals to help broker a deal, but the important missing component remains long-term finance. Today, Japanese Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa announced USD15 billion for fast start funding by 2012, under the Hatoyama Initiative. Earlier in the day, Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States announced that they will commit USD3.5 billion of public finance to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD).

We welcome these new commitments as they show a desire to reach a global agreement to address climate change,said Kim Carstensen, the leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.

Unfortunately, the core ingredient that remains on the shelf is a solid proposal for reliable long-term finance. This is one key element that is needed to break down the wall between developed and developing countries.

Japan'commitment is for USD 15 billion with stipulations that USD 11 billion of that would be from public financing. This represents a clear increase from previous reports estimating Japan's financing proposal at USD 9.2 billion.

Japan is clearly trying to move the negotiations forward, added Carstensen.

In addition, Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States announced they will commit USD $3.5 billion of public finance over three years to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

"The commitment from these industrialized countries to provide $3.5 billion in fast-start public finance is a welcome start to the much bigger effort to reduce and ultimately stop the loss of forests, and it is good to see a broad coalition of countries getting behind it," said Carstensen. We still need to see, however, exactly how much of the financing from both of these announcements today is new and additional to other development aid already promised.

This falls short of the need identified by the recent informal working group on REDD, which found that nearly USD $9 billion would be needed over the next 3 years. We urge more countries to come forward with commitments and fill this funding gap, added Carstensen.

"Although fast-start funding is critical to build up capacity, it must not be seen as any substitute for secure, predictable and additional finance for the medium and long term, which is necessary both for mitigation actions, like deforestation, and for critical efforts to help vulnerable countries adapt to the dangerous impacts of climate change, said Carstensen. The need for this long-term money is not negotiable. The deal and the planet depend on it.

"Long Term Investment" cartoon from the 'Bigger Picture' who are visually presenting the climate negotiations at the COP 15, United Nations Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.
© www.BiggerPicture.dk / Erik Petri / WWF Enlarge

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