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Where is the money: Developing countries decry lack of commitment in climate finance

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has decried the lack of commitment in providing climate finance to developing countries and small island nations. 

Speaking during PACJA’s multi-stakeholder side event at the UNFCCC COP23 in Bonn, Germany on Wednesday, Mithika noted that even after years of negotiations, developed countries have refused to honour the commitments they made towards climate finance. 

“This world has vast resources, the problem is that they are concentrated among a few people while many people are suffering. We need to fight this inequality,” he said.

The CSO boss noted that PACJA conducted a study in 5 countries regarding the implementation of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and found that they have done little to nothing of what they set out to do.

“We come here to negotiate for two weeks, draft documents and go back home but we leave the documents to gather dust on a shelf until the next meeting. We have been doing this for 23 years, the problem is we have no commitment to support the implementation,” he quipped.

Mithika further lamented that the developed countries are insincere with their contributing, saying that there is a tendency of double county where funds meant for other actions are counted as being climate finance.

“We have seen funds that are meant to be for climate finance going to other actions such as financing a bottling company in Lagos,” he said.

He further stated that most of the funding coming to Africa is meant for mitigation, whereas the need on the continent is adaptation, adding that countries must increase their efforts on finance delivery.

His sentiments were echoed by Ajay K Jha, CECOECDECON India director, who noted that the climate action funds flowing to the Asia Pacific are inadequate to compensate the inhabitants for their suffering due to the impact of climate change.

Speaking during the event, Mr Jha said in 2016 the Asia Pacific suffered losses amounting to USD87 billion; USD77 billion of which was uninsured, but the amount of climate finance received was USD50 billion.

“Is this a crisis of finance, motivation or political economy, are we trapped in a false debate and is finance going to create the revolution we require?” he posed.

The Civil Society boss castigated climate finance institution for having too much red tape and bureaucracy, adding that they seem to favour private entities and banks in their modalities.

“The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other financial institutions are not different in operating modalities from previous institutions, they favor private entities and banks,” he remarked, adding” Are we looking at a future managed by financiers and hedge fund managers?”

Mr Jha noted a trend where energy companies are collaborating with agribusiness companies to access climate finance, adding that we need to be careful about this trend because the small-scale farmers stand to lose if they team up with large climate-smart agriculture firms.

“Earlier banks were chasing energy companies but after failing to secure profits they are now chasing agribusiness companies, we should be careful about this,” he noted.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the UNFCCC 23rd Conference of Parties currently ongoing at the city of Bonn in Germany. 

The two-week conference, which is hosted by Fiji this year, will see parties to the Paris Agreement meet and negotiate on various modalities and the implementation of the landmark agreement.

The theme of the side event, which was organized in partnership with CUTS- International, CECOEDECON, CSDevNet and WACSOF, was making the Paris Agreement work for Africa by enhancing the transparency of actions and the place of climate finance.

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Lisa Kamau
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