Geneva: A new global fund on climate change that aims to channel USD 100 billion a year in aid to poor countries selected officials from South Africa and Australia as its leaders at its first meeting today.
The Green Climate Fund, created as part of a deal struck in December 2011 at the 194-nation climate talks in Durban, South Africa, will be led by Zaheer Fakir, head of international relations for South Africa`s environment agency, and Ewen McDonald, deputy head of Australia`s international development agency, the fund said in a statement.
It would receive and distribute USD 100 billion that rich nations have pledged annually by 2020 to help poorer countries adapt to changing climate conditions and to move toward low-carbon economic growth. The commitment to provide those billions in climate aid through the new "green" fund came as part of a hard-fought agreement in Durban that was meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades.
But the agreement did not specify how that money would be mobilised, and a series of technical decisions on how and where it should be run and even how it could raise those funds were put off for later.
Its 24-member board began by organising itself, setting rules and hearing offers from six nations that would like to host the fund`s operations: Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, South Korea and Switzerland.
Swiss Cabinet member Doris Leuthard, who directs the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, welcomed the board to Geneva for the fund`s inaugural three-day meeting, which runs through Saturday. She also began pressing the Swiss case for serving as the fund`s long-range hosts.
The fund was created in addition to the USD 30 billion in "fast-track financing" for poor countries that rich nations agreed to provide at the December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, since the Green Climate Fund is envisioned as the world`s biggest financier for helping the developing world mitigate and adapt to climate change from 2020 onwards.
The board`s members include a Chinese assistant finance minister, US deputy assistant treasury secretary, Russian deputy chief in the president`s office, Danish central banker, Czech deputy finance minister, Bangladeshi environment minister and Pakistani UN ambassador.