Sunday, August 26, 2012

New UN climate fund must work for the poor - NGOs

LONDON (AlertNet) – As the board of a new U.N. climate fund for developing countries meets for the first time, civil society groups are pushing for it to be managed in a way that is transparent and accountable to poor communities likely to be hit hardest by climate change.

Nouakchott, Mauritania
Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) urged the Green Climate Fund’s board to give citizens a much bigger voice at its meetings, as it begins to work out how to administer up to $100 billion a year to help developing nations adapt to a warmer world and curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

“We need a balance between the urgency to achieve results and the due diligence required to protect climate money and ensure its effectiveness,” said Lisa Ann Elges, head of TI’s climate governance integrity programme.

The proposed arrangements allow just two civil society observers to participate actively in board meetings, one each from the developed and developing worlds - the same level of representation allotted for the private sector. Guidelines say an active observer may speak but not vote.

Researchers and climate activists are concerned that the private sector may be given too large a role in running projects financed by the fund, and it will be difficult to track what businesses are doing.

But access to the fund's resources for companies and private financial institutions is regarded by some debt-laden wealthy governments as a carrot to raise additional money from private sources - without which they are reluctant to loosen their own purse strings.

"There is an understanding that the more the Green Climate Fund is private investor-friendly, the more likely it is that developed countries will put money in," said Janet Redman of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.


She and other experts want rules to ensure that private-sector activities financed by the fund will not undermine the development of poorer nations and vulnerable people who rarely get a say in such decisions.

"The private sector has its motives, but these have to line up with the interests and priorities of developing-country governments and what the people who are going to be most impacted by climate change want and need," Redman told AlertNet. More