How to govern climate-change funds

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A lot of brouhaha has been brought about by The Guardian’s supposed steal on a leaked non-paper drafted by the Danes. Though the non-paper has been around for a while, the drama put fuel on the fire of the discomfort and sense of injustice felt by many developing country delegations. The other story dominating the headlines is bankers' pay. Let me try to link the two in the context of the financing discussions in Copenhagen.

One of the largest gaps in positions coming into the negotiations is the funds ($, number of resources) that will be paid in for climate financing and the governance of these funds. The Devil (or God) is in the details. In each of the texts floating around, the proposals for the institutional design of the management of financing are different, but perhaps an agreement can be reached by building on core elements:

  1. There is no one funding mechanism. There should be an array - ranging from the Adaptation Fund, the roles of existing institutions such as MDBs, GEF and the CIF, national trusts - overseen and audited by a body under the convention. Some are calling this a high level board that would have balanced representation of developed and developing countries.
  2. Included in the design must be the ability to leverage, or blend financing with the private sector (to increase the amount of financing available and to make it available more cheaply).
  3. That the mechanisms have to be designed to get going quickly.

Rules of the road will have to be established, but the financial flows are critical for confidence in the process to build beyond Copenhagen. This requires programmes and deal flow that are investable (help for PPPs), and mechanisms that are easily understood, governed and accessed, and minimal underpinning to get it all standing up. 

Copenhagen needs to be translated into tangible benefits for developing countries as soon as possible after December 18th. Demonstrable impact is critical if the financing debate is not to carry the hue of an investor bonanza.


Rachel Kyte

Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change

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