New Era (Windhoek)

29 August 2012

Namibia: UN to Decide on Green Climate HQ in December

Namibia will know by the end of this year whether it has been chosen to host the headquarters of the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations (UN) vehicle aimed at mobilising resources to help developing nations fight global warming.

Leaders of a fledgling UN Green Climate Fund agreed at a first meeting on Saturday to choose the headquarters this year, as part of a plan to oversee billions of dollars in aid to help developing nations fight global warming, according to international reports.

The three-day meeting in Geneva, Switzerland heard pitches from the six countries vying to host the fund - Namibia, Germany, Mexico, Poland, South Korea and Switzerland.

Namibia's Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, led a strong delegation to Switzerland last week Tuesday to discuss the future of the green climate fund.

The UN body is due to manage US$100 billion (about N$800 billion) in aid from 2020.

Co-chair of the fund, Ewen McDonald of Australia, was quoted as saying the first meeting was a very productive start. He said at the end of the talks, the 24 board members were working on details of how the fund would operate.

The board aims to select the host country at the next meeting, set for October 18 to 20 this year in South Korea.

The choice would then have to be endorsed by environment ministers at UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar late November and early December this year.

Developed nations agreed in 2009 to raise climate aid, now worth about US$10 billion (about N$80 billion) a year, to an annual US$100 billion (about N$800 billion) from 2020 to help developing countries curb greenhouse gas emissions and cope with floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.

The long-term goal of the fund is to "transform the livelihood of people by responding to the impacts of climate change".

According to media reports, there was no discussion yet of the far more controversial issue of how to raise the money from public and private sources. The fund is now empty and the economies of many developed nations are struggling.

The board's first meeting was delayed by five months because Asian and Latin American nations took longer than expected to agree on the composition of their board members. Focused only on practical details, the Geneva talks avoided stirring up deep mistrust between rich and poor nations about sharing the burden of fighting global warming, which has been a constant stumbling block at UN climate negotiations.

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