External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has pledged USD 2.5 million to the Commonwealth Green Finance Facility on behalf of India to help the small states in the Commonwealth combat climate change, at the 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held at the Maltese capital Valletta.
“India has announced 2.5 million dollars for the Commonwealth small states trade finance facility. As you are aware, Commonwealth has 31 small states as its members out of the 53 countries and trade finance is very important to them,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
The step to raise funds to tackle climate change came up because many of the most vulnerable states and communities of the Commonwealth nations are already facing the adverse impacts of climate change, which can roll back decades of development gains; for some it represents an existential threat.
A statement from the meeting mentions that the Commonwealth nations are “deeply concerned about the threat posed by climate change, which continues to grow and to put at risk the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of our member states and citizens.”
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat yesterday unveiled a USD 1 billion Commonwealth Green Finance Facility to support environmental projects within the 53-nation bloc.
Commonwealth countries pledged billions to fight global warming with Canada topping the list, announcing a USD 2 billion assistance to help poor countries in limiting green-house gas emissions.
Separately, the UK has committed 21 million pounds for disaster management and 5.5 million pounds for the ocean-based economy.
Australia has committed USD 1 million for a new Commonwealth idea — a Climate Finance Access Hub.
During negotiations, India took the lead in articulating concerns of the developing countries in finalising approach of the Commonwealth countries in dealing with climate change. It argued that any ambitious statement emanating from the Commonwealth should be tempered with realism as the discussions in the run up to the COP 21 at Paris have been complex and difficult.
Indian officials argued that the Commonwealth must not pre-judge outcome of the negotiations leading to Paris climate conference and that commitment of the rich nations towards small islands and poor countries must go beyond the current level.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the financial assistance would help some of the most vulnerable countries in the Commonwealth.
The Paris Climate Conference, scheduled from November 30 to December 11, aims at achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Heads of States of around 140 countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will attend the summit.
(With inputs fro, the PTI)