The aid agency has called on the UN Climate Change Summit, in Cancun, in December, to create a Global Climate Fund for vulnerable populations in poor countries.

At a crucial lead-up meeting in Tianjin China over the weekend, there was some progress towards a Climate Fund, but Oxfam’s Senior Climate Change Advisor, Kelly Dent, says more is needed to ensure action in Cancun.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Speaker: Oxfam’s Senior Climate Change Advisor, Kelly Dent

DENT: We still need governments to work with real urgency and the upmost determination to be able to achieve progress on a climate fund, and also on the overall road to an ambitious and binding agreement in Cancun. So while we are encouraged by some of the progress, the urgency has definitely not gone away.

GARRETT: You’re concerned that the fund may be used as a bargaining chip at the Cancun climate change meeting. What’s prompting those concerns?

DENT: There’s a discussion going on using the fund as you said as a bargaining chip at the talks, and quite clearly we don’t want that being used as a bargaining chip, because in particular when it comes to climate financing for adaptation, it’s poor people’s lives and livelihoods that are at risk. So what we’re seeing is some of the developed countries holding out or omitting what’s needed to the fund in return for getting some concessions themselves in other areas, and in particular around their need to reduce emissions quite significantly.

GARRETT: Oxfam has just released a report on how much climate funding is going to help the world’s poor cope with climate change at the moment. What did it show?

DENT: Our report Righting Two Wrongs, which is about the global climate fund and about how money is being spent on climate change, actually revealed some quite staggering statistics. It showed us that only about one-tenth of money is actually going towards adaptation, so that’s helping people in poor countries to adapt to the impact of climate change. The rest is going to emissions reductions. It also showed us that 49 of the world’s poorest countries have received less than one-seventh of the amount of funding from the Global Environment Facility, which is a major fund giving out climate finance currently.

GARRETT: And the total amount of funding is also not what was hoped. Why is that?

DENT: The overall amount of funding not what’s needed and it’s certainly also not what is hoped for. What we saw coming out of Copenhagen was a commitment to give poor countries 30 billion dollars over three years in what we know as fast start finance. Now some of that money has started to flow, but none of that money is new and additional, which means that it’s coming out of existing aid budgets or being double counted, so governments are announcing it twice for different purposes. And clearly this is not seeing money go where it’s needed to both address poverty and address the impacts of climate change. And this is something that definitely needs to change.

GARRETT: How does the Global Climate Fund need to be set up to make sure that the world’s poor get the slice of the action that they need?

DENT: We’re calling on what you call the one-stop global fund, that would dispense the money to help with the impacts of climate change. That fund needs to be equitable, accountable, transparent and efficient. And what we mean by equitable, is we want at least, we want women represented on that fund and we want developing countries represented on that fund, because if developing countries are represented then it’s likely they’re going to have a good say in where the money goes, and they have a pretty good idea where the money needs to go to. So it’s vital that the money goes where it’s needed.

GARRETT: Just how much of a commitment to funding to poor countries would you like to see come out of the Cancun summit?

DENT: At a minimum we want to see the 30 billion dollars that was promised in fast-start financing at Copenhagen completely operationalised as new and additional. Beyond that what we want to see is the second commitment that was made in Copenhagen, which was to set up a fund that will take 100 billion dollars. Of that 100 billion dollars we want to see a significant amount of that go to adaptation. Now I clearly want to indicate this is not enough. I mean Oxfam figures are double that, others have different amounts that are even higher. But at an absolute minimum we must see the promises that were made fulfilled, and we must start to see that money flowing in a fair manner.

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