COP21: Funding boost for low-carbon growth in developing countries

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Global development banks have pledged to boost funding to help developing countries cope with climate change through the adoption of low-carbon technologies such as solar.

During a meeting of world finance ministers held over the weekend in Lima, Peru, ahead of the COP21 climate talks in Paris later this year, the World Bank said it would mobilise up to US$29 billion in climate finance by 2020.

In previous discussions on climate change, rich countries had promised to provide US$100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries to the support the deployment of renewable energy and other green technologies.

The World Bank’s pledge will see it boost its climate-related funding from 21% to 28%, representing a one-third increase in climate financing to around US$16 billion by 2020.

The institution also plans to co-finance another US$13 billion of climate-related projects by 2020.

“We are committed to scaling up our support for developing countries to battle climate change,” said the World Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim. “As we move closer to Paris, countries have identified trillions of dollars of climate-related needs. The bank, with the support of our members, will respond ambitiously to this great challenge.”

Meanwhile the European Investment Bank said it would increase the proportion of its lending going to climate-related investment in the developing world from 25% to 35%.

Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, said: “We must do all we can to unlock new investment in countries especially vulnerable to climate change, including those with low-lying coastal areas and regions exposed to desertification, drought, and flooding.”

A number of other financial institutions made similar pledges, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Responding to the World Bank’s pledge, Winnie Byanyima, international executive director of NGO Oxfam, said: “More commitments are welcome, and the World Bank’s move echoes previous commitments by regional development banks. Oxfam expects the World Bank to take a leading role in supporting the communities most vulnerable to our warming world.”

But Isabel Kreisler, Oxfam’s climate change policy expert, said the pledges failed to address “the elephant in the room”.

“Only a tiny fraction of climate funds are reaching the poorest countries to help them adapt to climate change. Only decisive action will reverse that trend,” Kreisler said.

“Ministers should agree on two things. First, at least 50% of public funding going towards the US$100 billion goal should be for adaptation. Second, they should agree to set a new post-2020 adaptation funding target in the crucial Paris meetings in December.”

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