At the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM) in Valletta, Malta, leaders have agreed to set up a climate change hub to facilitate access to funds for the small and poor countries. This decision comes just two days ahead of the crucial Climate Change Summit in Paris and is in sync with India’s demand for providing adequate financial resources to developing nations to reduce green house gas emissions.
A new mechanism to help poor countries manage debt accrued on climate management has been set up and the nitty-gritties of the new set up are still being worked on, said Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary General.
“These small states are often told about money but none of them know the number to dial,” said Sharma, the outgoing secretary general of CHOGM.
The hub will make “climate finance, a reality,” Sharma added.
The session on climate change was also attended by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and French President Francois Hollande.
Hollande hoped that a universal agreement will be arrived at Paris conference which eyes an ambitious goal of significantly limiting global warming. Without naming any country, Hollande said that a a couple of countries may pose hurdles in achieving the goal as they feel some of the obligations can block their development.
“Man is man’s worst enemy. We have seen this with terrorism and we have seen it also with climate change,” said the French President.
India, represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, vehemently articulated the concerns of the developing countries in finalising a policy statement of the Commonwealth countries in dealing with climate change which is likely to have an impact in negotiations at the Paris Summit which begins on Monday.
India argued that CHOGM must not pre-judge the outcome of the negotiations leading to the Paris conference. India also made its stand clear while saying that the commitment of rich nations towards small islands and poor countries must go beyond the current level. It pitched that developed countries must ensure financing and technology transfer to developing countries to help them reach their target of bringing down carbon emission.
The Commonwealth, a bloc of 53 countries, is home to around 2.2 billion people having a geographic spread covering six continents. The group includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries and its views will be crucial at the Paris climate conference.
Calling the Commonwealth a microcosm of international community, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the decisions taken at CHOGM was indicative of a positive outcome at the Paris conference which is likely to be attended by leaders of 150 countries.
“This is virtually the last political milestone before we meet in Paris. I am encouraged by such a strong commitment by Commonwealth leaders (in combating climate change),” Ban said.
“We cannot delay and postpone it until tomorrow. We have to take action. All major countries — France, Germany, UK, Japan, Canada and Australia are showing commitment for climate financing. We are going to present politically credible trajectory for USD 100 billion,” Ban said while stressing on the need to arrive at a solution in Paris.
Canada announced that it will make an additional five-year, $2.65-billion contribution to help developing countries to battle climate change.
“Today, we have a real opportunity to get the small island states that are so vulnerable to climate change on board for an ambitious global climate change deal in Paris…Britain is firmly committed to helping these countries deal with the effects of climate change and that’s why we’re announcing new support today to help protect them from the risks of climate change and to make the most of their natural maritime advantages which are so vital to their economies,” British PM David Cameron said while announcing GBP 26 million for climate projects in 25 small island states.
CHOGM was attended by 30 heads of state and government including Australia, UK, Canada, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. The summit discussed ways to combat terrorism besides tackling climate change.
(With inputs from PTI)