Africa a big loser if climate finance is not additional

Africa will lose out if money pledged by rich countries at the Copenhagen climate change meeting last December does not come in addition to their existing aid promises. This is the stark message in a research paper from leading development think tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), commissioned by ONE.

The report states that if finance for climate change adaptation were to come from existing and promised aid flows it would necessarily result in a money being taken away from health and education, and reallocated to sectors such as agriculture, coastal defence and water.

While sub-Saharan Africa receives 38% of global aid, the World Bank estimates that their share of adaptation needs is 22% – in part because there is less expensive existing infrastructure to protect. ODI conclude that “It is crucial to underline the importance of additionality of climate finance to aid. If this is not explicitly stated and implemented, the possibility of aid diversion allocated according to adaptation needs is likely to lead to the neglect of aid to Africa.”

The findings come just days after Bill Gates warned in his annual letter that health funding could be cut if the $100bn target set at Copenhagen took money out of other development priorities. “If just 1% of the $100bn goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases” he wrote. If countries do not avoid this type of dangerous double counting, the already off track Millennium Development Goals will be dealt another heavy blow.

The millions of people around the world who took action in the run-up to Copenhagen, including tens of thousands of ONE members, will now be needed more than ever as we attempt to make sure that vital work on climate does not come at the expense of the world’s poorest people.

Read the report ‘Climate financing and Development – Friends or foes?’

Update: The Financial Times today published a letter from ONE’s co-founder and Executive Director Jamie Drummond on this important issue. Read the letter here.

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