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Fast Start Finance for Climate Change

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A new website launched this month by the United Nations, FastStartFinance.org, will track climate funding commitments from industrialized countries, essentially attempting to make sure that developed economies will deliver on their plans to provide seed funds that help poorer nations battle climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord included a commitment from developed countries’ to provide developing countries with “fast start” financing of about $30 billion over the 2010-2012 period, earmarked for enhanced action on mitigation, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity building.

“Fast start finance will support immediate action on climate change and kick start mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries,” the website says. It will not only enhance implementation of the Climate Change Convention by developing countries between now and 2012 but also aims to help prepare for sustained implementation beyond 2012. Fast start finance is aimed enabling “readiness” for the post 2012 period. It will also provide “lessons” for finance over the longer term.

Fast start finance is a major issue in the international climate change talks. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently said, “Fast start finance is a central key to unlock the door to success in Cancún,” where the next conference (COP16) of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place Nov. 29-Dec. 10.

Progress in delivery of fast start financing will help demonstrate that developed countries are willing to meet their commitments, building some sorely needed confidence in the international negotiations. “I have always called this short-term financing the golden key to Cancun,” Figueres adds. “It is particularly urgent and important to have clarity about the source, the allocation and the disbursement of the short-term funds.”

Development of the website was headed by the government of the Netherlands, with support from the governments of Costa Rica, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Norway, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. It was launched by Tineke Huizinga, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Netherlands, at the Geneva Dialogue on Climate Finance on Sept. 2.

The website is still a work in progress, but the U.S. is conspicuously absent from the small roster of contributing nations, which include the UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands and Norway.

A slow start or no start for the U.S. on fast start finance?

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Written by William DiBenedetto

8 September, 2010 at 2:00 am

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