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Developed nations make pledges for the least developed countries, signal confidence in Convention-created fund

PRESS RELEASE

 

DURBAN, South Africa, December 10, 2011 – Addressing the urgent need to assist the least-developed countries in coping with the impact of climate change, the climate conference concluding today in South Africa brought new focus to the critical urgency and importance of international funding for adaptation to climate change. In the poorest countries, adaptation is a critically important strategy for averting the worst effects of climate change. New contributions from developed nations continue the momentum of "fast-start" financing toward the goal of providing funding for climate change adaptation approaching USD 30 billion for the 2010-2012 period. Several donor countries pledged new support to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) for climate change adaptation during the 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17). Among these contributors are United Kingdom, Sweden, and a new donor country, Iceland, whose pledges coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the Fund. These pledges signify the growing awareness that adaptation to climate change is critical, especially in areas where the most vulnerable populations reside. They also reflect the view that mitigation of climate change, through stabilization of green house gas concentrations, is only part of the challenge.

"Good news has welcomed the LDCF in Durban," said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environmental Fund, the multilateral agency that manages the LDCF. "We are happy about this positive record, but more must be done. The recent pledges to the LDCF represent an important signal that supporting adaptation in the most vulnerable countries is an important aspect of moving towards 'climate justice.' We must keep in mind LDCs are the most vulnerable and at the same time, the least responsible for the adverse effects of global climate change."

These latest pledges come as a sign of robust health of the fund, created under the Climate Change Convention in 2001, and placed under the management of the Global Environment Facility. In total, the fund has received more than half a billion dollars in pledges thanks to the voluntary contributions from developed countries, particularly the lead donors, Germany, United States, and Denmark.

The Fund now supports fifty-two projects and programs in 42 of the least-developed countries, the largest portfolio of adaption projects of this kind. Direct support to projects and programs amounts to US $217 million in LDCF grants, leveraging $919 million in co-financing. Of these, 33 projects are under implementation on the ground, generating real adaptation benefits to some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities. The LDCF is the largest source of finance for adaptation in Africa, so far investing around $150 million to help smallholder farmers, vulnerable coastal communities, as well as nomadic pastoralists develop and adopt resilient livelihoods.

"We have seen good progress in accessing to the fund," said Mr. Pa Ousman Jarju of Gambia, chairman of the Least Developed Countries Group. "The additional resources pledged by developed countries will go a long way toward the implementation of many projects, and will help millions of the world's poorest people enhance their resilience to climate change, particularly in the areas of food security and access to water resources."


Least Developed Countries Fund

Ten Years, Ten Key Achievements:

The LDCF has enabled 48 of the world's most vulnerable countries to access resources to identify and to address the immediate effects of climate change. The projects are based on the strategies for adaptation of the National Adaptation Programs of Action for the least developed countries. These NAPAs were also funded by the LDCF.46 of these countries have completed them, with only two – Angola and Myanmar – remaining in the final stages.33 projects have started implementing concrete adaptation actions on the ground.53% of the approved funds are dedicated to increasing climate resilience in the LDCs in Africa, 23% in Asia, 21% in Small Island Developing States, and 3% in Latin America and Caribbean region. In the case of the Small Island Developing states, the funds could be critical to survival; many of these states struggle for their very existence in the face of sea-level rise, coastal erosion and salt-water intrusion.52 projects and programs in 42 countries (including enabling activities) have been approved for funding, totaling $217 million and leveraging $919 million in co-financing.Designed entirely in accordance with country priorities and executed by national stakeholders, projects and programs supported by the LDCF have enabled LDCs to assume leadership of the agenda that will define their future.The main sectors targeted are food security and agriculture (39 percent of funding), coastal management (24 percent of funding), and water resources (15 percent of funding). These coincide with the three top NAPA priorities, identified across LDCs.The GEF is taking a programmatic rather than piecemeal approach to these challenges with the LDCF resources approved in 2011. This will magnify adaptation benefits across a region. The program, funded by GEF and implemented by the World Bank, is directed at the Sahel and West Africa region in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative.The LDCF supports climate change adaptation in 28 fragile states, helping break the vicious cycle of adverse climactic and environmental conditions, poverty and conflict. For more information visit http://www.thegef.org/gef/ldcf.

Contact: John Diamond, Senior Communications Officer, The GEF, at jdiamond@TheGEF.org.

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