The world’s poorest still need urgent action on climate change

Media Releases article written on the 07 Aug 2010

Bonn, Germany: As the latest round of the UN Climate Change Conference drew to a close in Bonn, international aid agency Oxfam warned that unless negotiations step up several gears, expectations would be low going into the next UN climate summit in Cancun.

Oxfam’s Policy Advisor Kelly Dent said urgent action was still needed on climate change for the sake of the world’s poorest people and ultimately the planet and the public expects such action.

“As developed nations continue to drag their feet on reaching a new fair and legally binding deal the cost is already being measured in human lives,” Ms Dent said.

One positive development of the talks was the progress within negotiations on managing finance needed to enable poor countries to adapt to climate changes and develop in a low carbon way.

Oxfam understands a decision has been made to ask the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to compile information on the delivery of immediate, additional finance that developed countries have committed to under the Copenhagen Accord, which would be made publicly available.

Parties have also converged on the need for a new fund for longer-term finance to be established under the UNFCCC and discussions are progressing on how it would be governed.

But Ms Dent said the fund risks marginalising the interests of women unless rules are agreed to ensure they are adequately represented in deciding how the money should be spent.

“Women produce up to 80 per cent of the food in poor countries and are the key to food security for millions of poor people as climate change affects agriculture. The new global climate fund must ensure they get the resources they need,” Ms Dent said.

“It is also essential to ensure that adequate new and additional funds are found to fill the new fund – at least the $US100 billion per year by 2020 committed in the Copenhagen accord.”

Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said both the Government and Opposition were falling short on the critical issue of how they would meet Australia’s commitment to provide fast-track climate finance under the Copenhagen Accord.

“Both have been silent during the election campaign on Australia’s obligation to help poor countries adapt to climate change and just last week we saw Opposition plans to cut already insufficient climate finance initiatives,” Mr Hewett said.

“The Government must also explain how it would meet its international obligation, as doing so would help rebuild trust in the UN Climate Change Negotiations.”

As one of the highest per capita polluters in the world, Australia’s fair share of the $AUD33 billion fast-start finance pledged by rich countries in Copenhagen is $AUD760 million.

This needs to be additional to existing aid commitments, so that the fight against poverty is not reversed. So far, the Government has committed only $350.4 million in climate finance for 2012-13 from the aid budget.

For more information and interviews contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.