Meles Zenawi: Climate Financing for Africa Does Not Count as Aid

Melez Zenawi, Ethiopia's prime minister. Photo by: Aly Ramji / World Economic Forum

The ongoing Cancun climate summit “would be a flop” if wealthy nations continue to count climate change financing for Africa as aid, according to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who is also the African Union’s spokesperson on climate change.

“It is not aid… it is not assistance… it is paying the price for their [wealthy nations’] carbon emissions for which we in Africa have borne the brunt for too long,” including floods, droughts and food losses, Zenawi argued.  

African delegations began arriving in Cancun, Mexico, over the weekend for the annual United Nations-led climate summit, which runs until Dec. 10, Business Ethiopia reports.

New cash is a “golden key” to make strides on a global deal to combat global warming at the Cancun climate summit, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

>> Instead of a Treaty, Climate Summit to Focus on Fund Use

In last year’s Copenhagen summit, rich nations pledged USD30 billion in fast-start climate aid through 2012, with the aim to increase the funding to USD100 billion annually by 2020. But details on how the funding will be mobilized and spent will have to be ironed out in the Cancun conference.

While the Copenhagen Accord states that climate finance should be equally split between mitigation and adaptation activities, only 10 percent of the promised USD30 billion was “clearly earmarked for adaptation, which is far from the ‘balanced’ allocation promised,” according to Saleemul Huq, lead author of the chapter on adaptation in the fourth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Another issue deals with the channels through which adaptation finance is delivered to developing countries, Huq said.

A proposal for a new green fund will be explored in the Cancun summit. Some developed countries have opposed the idea of a green fund managed by the U.N., IRIN reports. 

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.