At the beginning of the negotiations at Poznan, it was suggested that the Adaptation Fund (AF) was one of the few areas on which significant progress would be made (see my previous post). In the end, negotiations even on this issue went right to the wire, after there was failure to reach an agreement by the theoretical deadline on Wednesday.
A key sticking point was the legal capacity of the AF board, specifically whether countries should be able access the funds directly. The EU wanted direct access to be delayed, mainly because of worries that without proper controls in place, funds might be used for purposes not related to adaptation. This attracted the ire of the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, who accused “some key industrialised countries” of trying to make the AF inaccessible to those most in need, by blocking their way with red tape.
However, this impasse was overcome today, the final day of negotiations. Now the AF board has the right to sign contracts, and could be releasing funds within months. Despite a generous Swedish donation of $500 million over the next three years, it is severely under-funded. As mentioned in my previous post, Oxfam has estimated that adaptation needs of developing countries will be $50 billion a year by 2015.
Despite this financing gap, it is good news that the AF has finally been operationalised. This will allow some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries to get vital adaptation projects underway as soon as possible, and should set the scene for an equitable deal at Copenhagen next year.
Note – A synthesis of various countries’ suggestions for action on adaptation can be found on p.64-83 of the ideas and proposals document agreed by the AWG-LCA on Wednesday. The subsidiary bodies also made specific conclusions on the Nairobi Work Programme and the LDCF.