Home | News    Friday 10 December 2010

Africa urges release to Copenhagen pledged "fast-track funds"

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 9, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Africa’s negotiating team on climate change has called for urgent release of the $30 billion "fast-track funds" pledged at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference to help continent grapple with global warming.

Speaking at the Cancun Climate conference in Mexico, Africa’s lead negotiator, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, on Wednesday called on richer and industrial nations stick to the Copenhagen accord and commit to release the compensation funds for climate change adaptation.

Zenawi, co-chairman of the UN high-level panel told delegates at the Cancun Climate Conference that while Africa contributes “virtually nothing to global warming”, the continent will “suffer first and suffer most as a result of global warming caused by others.”

He said, Africa is already facing the adverse consequences of global warming in the form of increased drought and unprecedented flooding.

“Africa does not have the luxury of discussing the causes of global warming; we have to act now to reverse the catastrophe,” Zenawi said.

He said millions of Africans are being exposed to starvation due climate change induced weakened agriculture.

On behalf of the African Group, Meles argued that an urgent release of the funds would enable the continent cope-up ahead of disastrous consequences. He said the funds would help to continue existing projects of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) such as projects aimed at halting the advancement of the Sahara Desert.

The Cancun Climate conference is expected to advance in a second period for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, also on agreements how to raise and mobilize the funding agreed in Copenhagen, including $30 billion "fast-track funds".

At the Copenhagen UN climate summit, rich nations pledged almost $30 billion in aid from 2010-12 to help the poor combat climate change.