New financing for Least Developed Countries Fund sends strong signal of commitment as Paris talks get underway
Eleven donors on Monday November 30, 2015 in Paris, France pledged close to $250 million in new money for adaptation support to the most vulnerable countries on the planet giving a welcome boost to the start of the climate talks here in Paris.
Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States of America announced their contributions at the opening day of COP21 to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), a climate fund hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Welcoming the injection of new financing, GEF CEO and Chairperson, Naoko Ishii, said “Given that we’re already locked into climate change trajectories for many years to come, increased investment in adaptation has to be at the core of the new climate agreement.”
“We know that many billions are required over the next few years to fill the gap in climate finance, but the money pledged today is vital to help some of the most vulnerable people on the planet cope with the immediate impacts of our rapidly warming world,” Ishii continued. “I commend all the donors for their support. This funding for adaptation is urgently needed to help sustain the hard-earned momentum for action on the ground that some of the most vulnerable countries have achieved in recent years.”
Demand from developing countries for financing from the LDCF remains strong. Droughts, violent storms, sea-level rise and other climate changes are already impacting the poorest and most vulnerable countries and communities.
In his speech at the COP, USA President Barack Obama said: “For some, particularly island nations […], climate change is a threat to their very existence. That’s why today, in concert with other nations, America confirms our strong and ongoing commitment to the Least Developed Countries Fund. And tomorrow, we’ll pledge new contributions to risk insurance initiatives that help vulnerable populations rebuild stronger after climate related disasters”.
At Monday’s announcement of the new financing, former President of Ireland and United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, Mary Robinson, said: “I have seen for myself how people from across the developing world are leading the way to climate solutions. But the scale and international nature of climate change requires an unprecedented level of international solidarity and support. So today’s announcement should be seen in that context: they are not just about dollars and cents and accounting. They are about supporting millions of people across the world.”
The new financing will enable the GEF to respond to existing requests for support ranging from investments in new approaches to agriculture to national adaptation planning and building resilience against climate change variability and disasters.
Since 2001, the GEF – through the LDCF and the Special Climate Change Fund and the Strategic Priority on Adaptation program – has provided $1.3 billion in grant financing and mobilized $7 billion from other sources for 320 adaptation projects in 129 countries, including all Least Developed Countries and 33 Small Island Developing States. These projects are expected to directly reduce the vulnerability of 17 million people.