The European Commission is to set up a €50 million fund to help developing nations fight global warming, the EU executive announced on September 18.
The funding – allocated from the EU budget for the period 2008-2010 – is designed to help such countries cope with the effects of man-made climate change.
EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said that “climate change is a threat to all of us, but the poorest and least-developed countries are in the worst situation,” emphasising that such nations – and particularly small island states – would be the “top priority” of the new funding.
The money is expected to be used to create a new international system in partnership with developing nations – the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) – to help them deal with more frequent storms, floods and droughts linked to climate change.
The announcement follows the adoption earlier this year of the second report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (EURACTIV 10/04/07), which concluded that the health of millions of people will be affected by climate change, and in particular that “250 million” Africans will face water shortages by 2020.
However, the sums are likely to disappoint development NGOs, with Oxfam earlier this year calling for rich countries to provide $50 billion annually to help poor countries face the “unavoidable consequences” of climate change. Oxfam said that poor countries are the “worst affected, facing greater droughts, floods, hunger and disease” (EURACTIV 29/05/07).
If approved by the European Parliament and the 27 member states, the GCCA will focus on helping vulnerable nations prepare defensive measures against natural disasters such as floods, and control CO2 emissions by reducing deforestation and joining carbon trading schemes, the Commission said.
It will also act as a forum for the exchange of expertise between developing countries, and help them integrate climate change into poverty reduction strategies.
Michel said that the Commission funding for the GCCA was “only a startup” and that he wanted EU member states to add their own contributions as “other resources are necessary to respond to the scale of the needs”.
The €50m that the Commission has allocated for the creation of the GCCA in 2008-2010 will be complemented by the additional €300m of EU funds that are currently contributing to the same aims under a number of existing schemes:
- €25m under the heading of the EU Action Plan on Climate Change and Development and the Communication Limiting Global Climate Change to 2 degrees Celsius: The way ahead for 2020 and beyond.
- €70m under the Forest Action Plan.
- €100m for climate change and the environment for ACP countries under the European Development Fund.
- €100m for disaster risk reduction in ACP countries, also under the European Development Fund.