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Storm brews in Marrakech over Adaptation Fund

Published:Thursday | November 17, 2016 | 11:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor
Sven Harmeling of CARE International leads a group of individuals advocating to keep alive the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, as referenced in the Paris Agreement, at the climate change talks ongoing in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday.

MARRAKECH, Morocco:

There is a storm brewing over the Adaptation Fund (AF)and what it represents to the developing world, as countries look to operationalise the Paris Agreement that plots the route to global climate security.

"There is concern over the AF now that the market (for certified emissions reductions issued for Clean Development Mechanism projects) has collapsed over the last several years, and the fact that the institution is not entrenched in the Paris Agreement," explained Jamaica delegation member and seasoned climate change negotiator Clifford Mahlung.

"The mechanism for administering the fund falls under the Kyoto Protocol and there is a concern that parties (countries) that were not a part of the Kyoto Protocol do not want to be a part of any decision related to the Kyoto Protocol," he added, speaking from the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change being held here.

The AF was operationalised in 2010 to be financed through two per cent of proceeds from the CDM and contributions from countries, with the goal to build climate resilience in developing countries.

Importantly, it has enabled this, in part through a direct access financing option for such countries - a groundbreaking provision for which it has been lauded time and again. The fund also has in place a readiness programme for beneficiary countries, towards the successful implementation of their projects.

The collaborative way in which the AF has done its work is another reason for which it has won high praise - all of which is testimony to its value, according to Marcia Levaggi, former manager for the AF Secretariat.

"One of the achievements of the fund is that it is a collective success. The board and the secretariat have worked very well together and have been pushed by civil society to work for the very best interest of the fund," she told The Gleaner last month.

 

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"I think the three successful components of the fund are the board, the civil society - especially the Adaptation Fund NGO Network - and the secretariat, which have been able to work together in achieving what was best for the fund and to build a mechanism that was nimble and can quickly reach the most vulnerable communities, the beneficiaries," Levaggi added.

Meanwhile, under 'decisions to give effect to the Agreement', the Paris Agreement "recognises that the Adaptation Fund may serve the Agreement, subject to relevant decisions by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement".

Further, it "invites the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to consider the issue ... and make a recommendation to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement at its first session".

This first session of the Paris Agreement is to take place here in Marrakech this week. However, parties are divided over the future arrangements for the fund, which has so far benefited 48 countries, including Jamaica, and 3.6 million direct beneficiaries to the tune of more than US$354 million.

"The problem is the conditionalities for access the AF ... If the fund is placed in the GCF (Green Climate Fund), for example, the concern is whether it will be able to maintain its autonomy and with less stringent conditionalities for developing countries who want access to the fund," noted Mahlung.

And according to the negotiator, this is an issue for all developing countries, "it is one of the fundamental decisions on finance for the G77 and China".

Their position, he said, is that the AF "be entrenched in the Paris Agreement, but continue to operate in the way that it has since inception" - no matter the opposition from developed country parties.

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