EU urges conclusion on climate fund, others want changes

DURBAN Thu Dec 1, 2011 12:29am IST

A man cycles in front of a makeshift baobab tree during the COP17 (Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change) in Durban November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

A man cycles in front of a makeshift baobab tree during the COP17 (Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change) in Durban November 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

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DURBAN (Reuters) - The European Union said on Wednesday countries should agree to the draft of a new climate fund and not delay its progress, while others urged more work on a tool meant to help developing countries fight climate change.

More than 190 countries at the global climate talks in Durban are expected to sign off on the Green Climate Fund, meant to channel up to $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing states tackle climate change that is leading to rising sea levels and crop failures.

A committee completed a draft in Cape Town last month, but Saudi Arabia and the United States then expressed concerns, raising doubts that it would be adopted in Durban.

Tomasz Chruszczow, a European Union negotiator said parties should focus on getting the document approved or risk delaying action that would protect the most vulnerable.

"We believe it should be possible to agree on the draft instrument as it stands. It is a good compromise ... and in its current form it would attract significant funding," he said.

"It would be counterproductive to undertake further technical discussions on the instrument."

Some of the poorest nations in Africa and Asia, most hit by changing weather patterns and rising seas, want to ensure green finance is in place before committing to a binding climate pact.

U.S. climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said his delegation would like the fund to be adopted in Durban but there were some "small problems" with it.

"The final draft text in Cape Town raised a number of substantive concerns and included certain errors and inconsistencies that could result in confusion and impede the board's work," he told delegates.

Claudia Salerno, the chief negotiator for Venezuela said the proposal went against the interests of developing countries.

"We cannot allow the fund working like a private company without any management or direct access to it by sovereign states," she said. She rejected a proposal that the World Bank manage the fund in the interim.

The African Group said the $100 billion was a "symbolic and political" number for now and had little to do with science.

Something more in the region of $500-600 billion per year was needed to address adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, its spokesman Seyni Nafo said.

He said the fund would need to be discussed further to ensure direct access to the money for all developing countries, local governments and NGOs and equitable allocation through geographical and needs-based criteria.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

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