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Europe leading the way on climate fund

Sweden, Norway and Germany are some of the countries who signed over their Green Climate Fund pledges in full Sweden, Norway and Germany are some of the countries who signed over their Green Climate Fund pledges in full Bluecrayola
01 May
Sweden, Norway, Germany, and the UK are among the European nations that have delivered their Green Climate Fund pledges before the deadline, with the US and Japan notable for their absence

At the climate finance summit in Berlin last year, the world’s countries agreed 30 April 2015 as the date by which at least 50 per cent of the $10billion pledged to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) would be delivered. As business closed on that date in Seoul, South Korea – where the GCF is based – latest figures show that $4billion has been formally signed over so far, only 42.5 per cent of the total.

Between them, the US and Japan have pledged $4.5 billion, and therefore neither country having delivered any money yet is the main explanation for why the Fund failed to hit their 50 per cent target.

Most of the money delivered so far is from Europe, including the UK ($1.2billion), Germany ($1billion), Sweden ($581million) and Norway ($258million), while France has delivered half of its $1billion pledge.

Executive Director of the GCF, Héla Cheikhrouhou, described the pledges to date as ‘not sufficient’ for funding all the projects the GCF aims to support, however she insisted that ‘significant progress’ has still been made. ‘We therefore very much urge, and continue to work expeditiously with all remaining contributors, to turn their pledges into signed agreements at their earliest possibility,’ she said, adding that several countries have come forward over the past six months to discuss adding to the Fund, although did not name exactly who these benefactors were.

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Cheikhrouhou outlined the steps the GCF will be taking next to enable the money to be accessed by the various people and organisations whose work on low-carbon projects the Fund aims to support. Seven institutions have already been accredited, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). She reported that 46 further institutions, including NGOs and private, regional, and international organisations, have submitted applications to access the Fund, as well as over half the 120 developing countries identified as potentially benefitting from the GCF in order to assist their transition to low-carbon energy supplies.

She was also keen to point out that although fossil fuel-based investments are not specifically excluded from applying for GCF funding – a criticism which has been directed at the organisers – it has a rigorous screening process to ensure that the work of each accredited institution merits funding, in order to help contribute towards the overall mandate of the GCF. She described the ‘paradigm shift’ which it expects the work of all accredited institutions to achieve, towards more sustainable business models, which presumably would not include any fossil fuel or carbon intensive energy generation investments.

Launched in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010, the GCF is the only multi-lateral financing institution whose sole mandate is to serve as the main global investment vehicle to fight climate change. Having reached the initial pledging target of $10billion in late 2014, the GCF is now one of many projects preparing to play a key role in the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. ‘This fund can help shape a meaningful Paris agreement,’ says Cheikhrouhou.

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