Friday, December 21, 2007

Developing countries to get climate change fund in 2009

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- Developing countries like the Philippines will have to wait until 2009 to access the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol, a climate specialist said Thursday.

World leaders agreed to operationalize the long-idle fund to help developing countries adapt to global warming at the recently concluded climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Dr. Lourdes Tibig, a member of the Philippine delegation to the summit, said the Philippines could access the fund as early as 2009 once the mechanism has been established.

``The money is already there. It's just not being distributed because there's no mechanism yet,” she said in an interview.

Tibig is a supervising weather specialist at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA).

At the summit's end last Saturday, world leaders agreed to set 2009 as the deadline for a new treaty to tackle global warming, three years ahead of the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol.

An Adaptation Board, composed of representatives from developing countries, was created to draw up the mechanism on the fund allocation, while the World Bank's Global Environmental Facility was tapped to disburse it.

The fund is financed by a levy on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol. Since 1997, it has grown to $67 million and is seen as a major contributor to adaptation financing for developing countries.

The fund was designed to finance concrete adaptation programs in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement aimed at cutting down greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

The CDM is a mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol which helps developed countries achieve their emissions reduction targets, and developing countries attain their sustainable development goals.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Jasper Inventor, also a member of the Philippine delegation, however, said that the fund won't come "onstream" until 2012, when the Protocol expires.

``Under the framework, it's still 2012, unless we're able to negotiate a position that we should be able to access this fund after the negotiations,” he said in an interview.

Like Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, PAGASA’s Tibig and Inventor said the agreement to operationalize the fund was laudable.

``This, together with technology transfer, is a very important mechanism to help developing countries adapt to climate change,” Inventor said.

``This means further mapping, improving forecasting, disaster management and prevention -- things that will ensure that we move forward and adapt to a changing climate.”

Inventor, however, clarified that projects to be financed by the fund were not limited to CDM projects.


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