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Leaders must boost climate adaptation funds if Paris talks are to succeed, says Oxfam

29th Jun 2015

Oxfam is urging world leaders to boost funds available for developing countries to adapt to the changing climate, as they meet in New York for the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Climate Change today.

Oxfam is urging world leaders to boost funds available for developing countries to adapt to the changing climate, as they meet in New York for the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Climate Change today. Oxfam estimates that less than $20bn (£13bn) per year in public finance is flowing to developing countries dedicated for climate action - just 20% of the funds jointly pledged at Copenhagen in 2009.

The chance of a successful Paris climate deal depends on rich countries showing they have kept their past commitments, especially the promise they made to jointly mobilise $100bn (£64bn) of climate financing per year by 2020, warned Oxfam today. The French presidency of COP21 is aiming to make progress on this issue before Paris, and G7 leaders this month reaffirmed their commitment to meeting the goal.

"If rich countries can show they are making good on their $100bn promise, there will be a much stronger foundation of trust for the Paris talks," said Tim Gore, Oxfam's international climate adviser. "Accounting trickery isn't going to cut it - we need to see real funding increases beyond current levels. German Chancellor Merkel has shown the way by committing to double German public climate finance by 2020, and now others must follow suit."

Oxfam estimates that between $2.5bn (£2bn) and $4.5bn (£3bn) of the current annual investments (less than 20%) is flowing to adaptation efforts, which has consistently received only a minor share of climate finance. The recent UNEP estimate of adaptation costs in developing countries suggested that at least $50bn (£32bn) per year will be needed by 2030 in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) alone, and around $150bn (£96bn) per year in all developing countries.

Oxfam also estimates that countries in sub-Saharan Africa are collectively spending around $5bn (£3.2bn) annually from their own budgets to adapt to climate change - far more than they receive from international sources in climate finance. This includes Tanzania, which is spending approximately three times more on adaptation per year than they received during the three years of so-called "Fast Start Finance" following the Copenhagen climate summit in 2010-12, and Ethiopia, which is spending approximately double what the country received over the same three-year period.

"Developing countries are not just waiting for hand-outs, they are already investing significant sums from their own scarce budgets in adapting to climate change, but they need international support to meet escalating needs," continued Gore. "It's time countries who have done most to cause the climate crisis pay up for those who are paying its price."

Ahead of Paris, the leaders of rich countries must make clear commitments on how to close the funding gap by 2020. Many developing countries maintain that the majority of the $100bn should be provided by rich countries from their public budgets, with a smaller share mobilised from the private sector. Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed the way by committing to a doubling of German public climate finance by 2020. Oxfam cautioned that such increases should not come only from mainstreaming climate action into current aid spending, but that overall levels of public finance should be increased to meet the additional costs of climate change.

"We need a credible 'Roadmap to $100bn' that really boosts support for adaptation, not just putting new labels on old bottles," said Gore. "Climate change adds new costs to the fight to end poverty, but investing today in adaptation to climate change is the smartest defence against the costs of tomorrow's climate disruption."

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