Doha deadlock on climate finance can be broken next week

Bonn, Germany – Governments must move quickly at this year’s first UN climate change meeting to plug the gaping deficit of funds to help developing countries adapt to climate change and lower their emissions, international aid agency Oxfam said today.

The meeting, starting in Bonn, Germany on Monday April 29, will be the first time governments meet to discuss collective climate change action since last year’s Doha summit, where they failed to agree on any climate finance plans for this year and beyond after the end of the ‘Fast Start Finance’ arrangement in 2012.

A new funding period

2013 is a critical year for climate finance. It marks a new funding period when pledges need to be boosted significantly if governments are to honor their 2009 promise to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 in finance to help developing countries adapt to climate change and lower their emissions.

Yet current patterns of climate finance are worrying. Earlier this month, the OECD revealed that funding clearly targeted for adaptation programs fell in 2011 to $1.8 billion from $3.1 billion in 2010, based on data reported by governments to the OECD. The OECD has not released climate finance figures for 2012, but Oxfam’s research suggests that levels of public climate finance for adaptation did not improve last year.

Oxfam’s climate change policy adviser Tracy Carty said the deficit in climate finance pledges must be tackled urgently next week.

No man's land

“Climate finance is in no man’s land. 2013 should mark the start of the new climate finance period, yet almost halfway through the year we’ve seen no new pledges,” Carty said.

“Developed countries must not come to Bonn empty-handed. It’s time for governments to set out exactly how much public climate finance they will provide from now to 2015, and how they’ll scale it up by 2020 in line with their promises.

“Holding back promised climate finance risks stalling and souring progress towards the 2015 agreement governments will be discussing in Bonn, because it undermines developing countries’ trust that developed countries will keep their word.”

Carty said it is crucial for governments to provide detail on how these funds will be spent and where they will come from.

Adaptation programs and resilience

“People in developing countries are dealing with increasingly extreme weather events, putting the food security of millions at stake because of a climate crisis they did not create. Yet Oxfam’s research estimates that as little as 21 per cent of climate finance has gone to adaptation programs that improve their resilience to these impacts.”

“It’s time for governments to explicitly agree that at least half of all public funds for climate change action will go to meet developing countries’ adaptation needs.

“Governments can’t leave it up to the private sector to fill this enormous shortfall in adaptation funding. The private sector has mostly stayed away from funding some of the most important adaptation programs, which help people gain access to the water, food and basic services diminished by climate change, because they offer little or no short-term return on investment.”

Oxfam is also hoping that the Bonn negotiations will help deliver consensus on how responsibility for reducing emissions can be shared fairly between countries. Currently, countries determine their own reduction commitments but this process has so far proved totally incapable of keeping rising global temperatures within a safe threshold.

Notes to editors

Contact information

Oxfam’s climate change policy adviser Tracy Carty is in Bonn for the negotiations. For interviews or media enquiries, please contact :

Sunita Bose, Oxfam International Economic Justice Media Lead, on +1 650 353 1936.

Related links

Blog: Three facts and three photos about extreme weather in 2012

Oxfam's research and report on climate change