Mon | Aug 15, 2022

Earth Today | AOSIS welcomes dedicated climate money from UN fund

Published:Thursday | May 19, 2022 | 12:07 AM

THE GLOBAL Environment Facility (GEF) has become the first UN climate fund with a dedicated window for the 30 small island developing states (SIDS) that are not also least developed countries (LDCs) to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“This is a significant development for this group of countries that, although exceptionally exposed to climate impacts, must compete with all developing countries for access to multilateral climate funds and are often barred from bilateral support due to inflated per capita GDP rankings,” the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) said in a release to the media.

AOSIS represents the interests of some 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change and sustainable development negotiations and processes. It works to not only amplify the voices of vulnerable countries but also advocates on their behalf.

Meanwhile, the decision to have a dedicated window for SIDS came as the GEF recently reached consensus among donors and recipient representatives on its new strategy for the two adaptation funds managed by its Secretariat: the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

“When faced with damage due to climate change-induced weather events, it often takes the impacted state months or even years to rebuild and recover fiscally. This should not be. SIDS need to be able to build back immediately after an extreme climate event. AOSIS hopes that this new financing strategy will address this issue and fill this financing gap for SIDS,” AOSIS noted.

The strategy, which covers the 2022-2026 period, is to be formally endorsed at the 32nd LDCF/SCCF Council meeting in late June. It proposes innovations that are exciting and relevant for SIDS.

“These include a dedicated window for adaptation funding of at least $90 million ($3 million per SIDS for non-LDC SIDS under the SCCF, and an increase in the ceiling of LDCF access for LDC SIDS to $20 million per country during the 2022-2026 period. This figure responds to the Glasgow Climate Pact decision at COP26 (the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) for developed countries to double adaptation finance by 2025,” AOSIS explained.

THE STRATEGY

The GEF Strategy for the SCCF recognises that: ‘SIDS are among the most vulnerable countries on the planet to adverse impacts of climate change … [yet] SIDS do not have a dedicated funding opportunity for their adaptation needs and compete for access to climate adaptation support …’

It notes further: ‘It is evident that there are gaps and disparities across the adaptation funding received by SIDS, particularly non-LDC SIDS. Therefore, a priority area under the SCCF during GEF-8 will be a geographic focus on SIDS, in the spirit of ‘leave no SIDS behind’.

According to AOSIS, this is a timely development as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change impacts combined have created a debt crisis for many SIDS.

“In response to last April’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on the Mitigation of Climate Change, AOSIS called for an increased grant and concessional funding for climate action for small islands and this step by the GEF tells us that our voices are being heard – and SIDS’ vulnerabilities are being acknowledged by the global bureaucracy,” AOSIS said.

The LDCF and SCCF were set up in response to guidance from the 2001 COP and responds to the need for prompt support of adaptation efforts for climate-vulnerable states within the developing world.