Oxfam reaction to Italy's apparent failure to meet climate change pledges to world's poorest

Published: 17th November 2010

Claims today have surfaced that Europe will fall €200 million short of its previous pledge to raise €2.4bn to help poor countries cope with climate change in 2010, and by as much as €357 million over the period 2010-12, primarily because Italy will not deliver the share that it had promised.

Elise Ford, head of Oxfam’s EU office, said:

“Italy is apparently set to fail to meet its pledges, meaning that Europe will not even keep its most basic promise on climate finance, before we even look at where this money comes from or what it will be used for.”

“We had suspected that the EU was attempting to cover-up its failure to explain how it would provide new and additional cash for climate action in poor countries, but this revelation shows that the situation is even more serious. Italy is truly letting the side down once again and further undermining Europe’s credibility on the global stage.”
Farida Bena, spokesperson for Oxfam Italy, said:

“We cannot believe that Prime Minister Berlusconi is willing to take back what he promised in Copenhagen only a year ago. The recession was in full swing back then too and we just can’t keep using it as an alibi to forsake Italy’s EU commitments.”

“Once again Italy is letting the side down. It already happened a few months ago, when the EU failed to reach its collective mid-term aid target to help poor countries. Now Italy may lose face again on climate finance. At the EU finance ministers meeting tomorrow, Italy should clarify once and for all that what Berlusconi said still holds true. This means immediately including new climate change funds in the 2011 Budget Bill, which the Italian Parliament is debating now”.

Notes to Editors

One of the main outcomes of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen last year was the pledge by rich countries to provide $30 billion in 2010-2012 to help developing countries adapt to climate change and curb their emissions. The EU’s share was €7.2 billion or €2.4 billion per year. Importantly, by signing up to the Copenhagen Accord at the UN climate summit, the EU committed that there would be ‘new and additional’ money made available for climate finance, on top of existing pledges, not just a diversion from or recycling of past aid promises.

Leaked EU documents show that Europe will in fact fail to meet its overall pledges, by €200 million in 2010, and €357 million over the whole period 2010-12. It is believed that this shortfall is due to a cut in Italian contributions.

More information

Oxfam's work on Climate Change

Contact information

Angela Corbalan on + 32 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org