Petre Williams-Raynor, Contributing Editor
CLIMATE NEGOTIATOR Jeffrey Spooner is optimistic about the future of the cash-strapped Adaptation Fund, operationalised in 2009 to afford developing countries the chance to bolster their resilience to climate change.
But with October now at an end, it is anyone's guess whether the fund - the board for which Spooner serves as the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean countries' representative - will be able to meet its target to raise US$100 million by year end.
Under the fund, adaptation projects are implemented through national implementing entities (NIEs), multilateral implementing Entities (MIEs) or regional implementing entities - all of which have to meet strict fiduciary standards for accreditation by the board.
To ensure the availability of funds to support NIEs, such as the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the fund has put a 50 per cent cap on resources available to support projects by MIEs, which include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
Up to August 15, 2012, US$137.84 million was committed to MIEs, leaving only US$3.63 million in the kitty for additional MIE projects, according to the Adaptation Fund's website.
"The MIEs have reached their cap and what has transpired is that projects have now been placed in the pipeline for once resources become available," Spooner, who has, over the years, negotiated on Jamaica's behalf at the annual climate-change talks, told The Gleaner earlier this month.
The fund's website lists six MIE projects from the UNDP as being on hold. They are to be implemented in Cuba, Seychelles, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Ghana, and Mali. A seventh project - one to be implemented by the World Bank in Belize, is also on that list.
For NIEs, funding decisions to support their projects amounted to US$28.68 million, up to August 15, 2012, with US$112.79 million still available for additional NIE projects.
Primary Income source
With MIEs having reached their cap and the carbon market - the fund's primary source of income through a two per cent levy from certified emission reduction credits issued from the Clean Development Mechanism - in decline, there is worry over its financial future.
"It's not the €12 per tonne we used to have in 2011; now it's really bad, and we cannot count on a recovery of the carbon markets in the near future," Marcia Levaggi, manager of the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) Secretariat, said in an October 9 Thomson Reuters Foundation article. "The CDM doesn't seem to be on a good track to continue, at least in the way it was."
Spooner, who also heads Jamaica's Meteorological Service, is undaunted.
"What the AFB has done really is to be proactive (with a) task force established with a view of trying to mobilise resources for the AFB," said Spooner - a member of that task force.
In fact, the task force's efforts and strategy to raise the aimed-for US$100 million should have been discussed at this month's meeting of the board, which ended yesterday.
"That is one of things we will be looking at, the recommendations from the task force with respect to the modalities for raising this hundred million by the end of the year towards the Adaptation Fund," said Spooner, who is participating in the board meeting in Germany.
No official overtures have been made to any country yet, but there are plans, he said, to approach "major developed countries and the private sector (as well as) major foundations".
"As a member of the task force, I am very optimistic. The Adaptation Fund was established to fund concrete adaptation in developing countries, utilising two per cent of the proceeds from CDM activities. Once there are CDM activities, the AFB would continue to exist and there is going to be continued need for adaptation needs in developing countries to be funded," he said.
Meanwhile, the Adaptation Fund NGO Network - 'A coalition of NGOs and interested stakeholders following the development of the Adaptation Fund and its funded projects', according to its website - has got behind the fund, urging developed countries to contribute to its continued operation.
"The Adaptation Fund Board has set a fundraising goal of US$100 million by the end of this year. Reaching this goal is critical; it will ensure that vulnerable developing countries will continue to benefit from the innovative and much-needed features of the fund," the NGO network said in a letter to governments, published in the September issue of its newsletter.
The place to make it happen, the network noted, is at the climate talks set for November 11 to 22 in Warsaw, Poland.
"We are urging significantly higher contributions for the Adaptation Fund, on the order of US$150 million, to be pledged by COP19 in Warszawa at the latest. This funding would provide more secure prospects for the next year at least," the network said.
"The AF NGO Network and 80 other NGOs all over the world, therefore, strongly encourage developed countries to allocate new and additional financial resources to the Adaptation Fund today, sending a strong signal of support for this critical climate adaptation funding instrument, and following the good example of other countries that have recently done so," the letter added.