Article by: Krishna Krishnamurthy

After failing to reach a detailed agreement in Copenhagen (COP-15), the Parties of the Conference nevertheless agreed to advance negotiations on a post-2012 regime in Cancun (COP-16). Among the achievements in COP-15 is the so-called Copenhagen Accord which, apart from recommending a limit in the rise of global average temperatures to 2 degrees Centigrade, also requires scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate financing for adaptation, as well as improved access to these funds.

An outcome of the Accord was that Parties agreed to target financing amounts for adaptation to $30 billion for the 2010-2012 period, and $100 billion per year by 2020. In particular, Annex I Parties would support during 2010. A Fast-start website ( was set up to monitor the amounts pledged and the commitments of Parties.

Three main finance mechanisms for adaptation in developing countries have been generated:

  • The Least Developed Country (LDC) Fund ($221.45 million committed, $169.19 million paid, and $141.91 million disbursed);
  • The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) is also available ($147.77 million committed, $110.48 million paid, $97.14 million disbursed); and
  • The Adaptation Fund ($372 million of estimated funds available until 2012; $14 million disbursed).

For the recipients of the funds, the idea that financing could come from the public sector has been particularly appealing due to their predictability. However, developed countries have stressed that the public sector cannot provide the necessary resources, and that the private sector should be involved. Two key issues remain that of improved accessibility and additionality of financing over development grants to prevent competition from financing that targets poverty reduction.

For the negotiators, one of the key issues to advance financing mechanisms will be the prioritisation of resources for the most vulnerable countries, including the least developed countries (LDCs), the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the African countries that are most affected by floods, droughts and tropical storms. For negotiating Parties, it will be important to categorise developing countries based on vulnerabilities—indeed, the Adaptation Fund ( requires submissions to include a detailed climate analysis to assess the state of vulnerability of the country.

The failure of achieving consensus in Copenhagen has led to a general sense of disappointment and relatively low expectations for the following negotiations. The greatest challenge in Cancun will be to re-establish the trust between Parties. However, with Mexico being one of the promoters of the Green Fund in Copenhagen, it is expected that significant advancements in the availability and access to adaptation financing will be achieved in Cancun.

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