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'Green Climate Fund' clears planning hurdle

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) April 15, 2011
A planned fund to channel hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries exposed to climate change has overcome an early obstacle, the UN said on Friday.

Members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have agreed on the make-up of a 40-seat transitional committee to design the Green Climate Fund (GCF), an issue that had been debated for weeks, the UNFCCC said.

Established at the UNFCCC's conference in Cancun last December, the GCF aims at administering aid, potentially worth 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, to developing countries at risk from rising seas, worsening drought, flood and storms.

The task of drawing up the GCF's terms of reference was entrusted to a transitional panel of 25 developing and 15 developed countries.

Important details are at stake, including the scope of a registry to record financial pledges and climate-mitigating action and whether non-governmental groups, the private sector and international organisations should be allowed to take part.

The committee had been scheduled to hold its maiden meeting in Mexico City on March 14 and 15, but the talks were snagged by discord over how to allot seats among the UNFCCC's geographical blocs.

This problem has now been resolved, and the first meeting will take place in the Mexican capital on April 28 and 29, the UNFCCC said in a press release.

Of the 40 seats, seven have gone to delegates from Africa, seven from Asia, seven from the Latin American/Caribbean region, 15 from developed countries, two from least developed countries and two from small island developing states.

"(...) Parties have put forward experienced and respected individuals," UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said.

"The transparent, predictable and adequate provision of finance in the long-term is essential to ensure that the poor and vulnerable can build themselves a sustainable future in the face of climate change."

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