Climate Lending Fund for Poor Countries (Google Alert / Environment News Service)

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Climate Lending Fund Proposed to Help Poor Countries Cope

LISBON, Portugal, November 9, 2007 (ENS) – An innovative fund financed by the world’s richest countries is needed to solve the problems faced by poor countries suffering from climate change, Louis Michel, European commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, told delegates today at the European Development Days event. The proposal to create a “global fund” that will allow developing countries to fight climate change came at the close of the three day long conference in Lisbon which attracted hundreds of delegates from government development agencies, nongovernmental organizations and civil society.
Commissioner Michel said he would pursue “a global fund which will provide the huge financial resources which are needed to fight climate change, here and now.” This lending fund, which could be managed by international institutions, would be wholly supported and financed by the richest countries. “Let’s come up with a creative way to design this global loan which would allow us the resources to deal with these climate issues,” said Michel. “If we don’t drive this forward through strong political decisions to get immediate results, we will find ourselves in the same place 15 years from now.” “In my view,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal, we are on the threshold of a new era, a transformation from a high carbon present to a low or zero carbon future.” “The European Commission is proposing a new alliance between the EU and the developing countries most affected by climate change and with the fewest resources to cope with its effects,” Barroso said. “If we miss our target of cutting CO2 emissions by at least 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2050,” he said, “the consequences of climate change in social, economic and environmental terms could be both irreversible and uncontrollable.”

“Climate change was seen as an environmental issue,” Michel said at the opening session on Wednesday. “But now 200 million Africans may see their water supplies threatened and there could be food shortages due to reduced harvests.”

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan of Ghana told the delegates, “For far too long we have considered climate change as a problem for the future. But we must remember that climate change is an all encompassing threat. It is not an issue of rich versus poor, of north versus south. It’s a global issue and we are seeing its effects everywhere.” “There’s an appetite for change in Africa, there is a young, dynamic group that is pushing for this move,” said Annan. “Africa is moving in the right direction, but more needs to be done.”Leaving January 1 after a decade as head of the UN, Annan now serves as president of the Global Humanitarian Forum, whose first task will be to look at ways of helping the communities around the world that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “Environmental change and natural disasters already displace more people than armed conflict,” he said. “A peaceful, prosperous Africa, a stable Africa is in all our interests,” Annan said. “We stand on the cusp of change. We are all bound together as human beings. If we remain indifferent to the suffering of others, we are depriving ourselves of our own humanity.”


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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