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Egypt, Germany to mediate in disagreements on financing at COP24‎

Ahmed Kotb – Katowice, Poland, Thursday 13 Dec 2018
COP24 green peace
A man with an umbrella looks at a giant globe installation erected by Greenpeace environmentalists in front of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate on December 11, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

As climate negotiations moved into higher gear this week, climate finance is still the main issue of the ‎‎24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change, also ‎known as COP24, taking place in the Polish city of Katowice. ‎

On Sunday, Egypt and Germany were called on by the Polish presidency to sort out the ‎differences that continued between developed and developing countries on climate finance.‎

‎“It is a historic role for Egypt and we are involved in all negotiation rooms at COP24,” Yasmine Fouad, ‎Egypt's minister of environment, told Ahram Online.‎

‎“We have important issues to deal with during the negotiations to sort out the differences ‎between the countries as part of the efforts to finalise the Paris Agreement Work Programme,” Minister Fouad ‎added.‎

These issues include agreeing to find more support for the climate adaptation efforts, which is a priority ‎to the developing countries.

“We believe it is more important currently than mitigation efforts in these ‎countries,” Fouad pointed out.

“Developed countries don’t have a financing problem as we do in our ‎countries.”‎

Another issue that Fouad is working on resolving is the restructuring of the UN Adaptation Fund, which is ‎currently managed mainly by developing countries.

“Almost 90 percent of the fund’s board members ‎are from developing countries,” she explained, adding that many developed countries want to be ‎members of the board, and that this is met with opposition from many developing countries who fear ‎this move will hinder their decision making ability. ‎

The Adaptation Fund is an international fund that finances projects and efforts aimed at helping ‎developing countries to adapt to the harmful effects of climate change. It was established under the ‎Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). ‎

‎“Germany is currently the largest contributor to the fund,” Fouad noted, adding that no country will be ‎able to fight climate change without funding.‎

Meanwhile, Jochen Flasbarth, German vice minister for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear ‎safety, told Ahram Online that countries are looking from different sides at the same matter, and that ‎brings difficulties in finding common ground.

“Minister Yasmine and I, however, have made relevant ‎progress since yesterday and things are working very well to reach common ground,” Flasbarth said.‎

‎“Financial matters are sitting at the center of all the issues we are dealing with to sort out the ‎differences of climate finance,” he stressed, adding that issues such as adaptation, mitigation and ‎transparency are all related to the question of financing.‎

Flasbarth noted that it was decided in Paris that there is a need for predictability for climate financing ‎for the developing world and for the developed countries as well.‎

“We are dealing currently, as facilitators together with Egypt, with issues like the adaptation fund, and ‎ long term financing after the year 2025,” he said.‎

‎“It is very unlikely to make progress in other areas of negotiations here at COP24 unless we solve, or at ‎least foresee to solve, the financial issues. I am quite sure that we will do it on time,” Flasbarth ‎stressed.‎

The climate is changing and will keep on changing all over the world, but is likely to become more ‎extreme in the Mediterranean region as a result of the severe challenges represented mainly in water ‎stress and extreme heat, said Nancy Saich, managerial advisor to the European Investment Bank (EIB).‎

“The changes are happening already and we need to find ways to adapt with them,” she added.‎

Many countries still have to have access to financing for more climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.‎

Saich also said that the EIB and the Green Climate Fund take into account the most up to date ‎information about what is actually going on in regard to climate in every country that we are involved ‎in, and how the project is going to impact the people and the society.‎

The Green Climate Fund was set up in 2010 at the United Nations climate talks to help developing ‎countries tackle the challenge of climate change through finance for clean and efficient energy, as well ‎as other climate mitigation and adaptation measures to help ease the effects of global warming.‎

Saich pointed out that financial institutions like the EIB provide technical assistance and help out with ‎the design and the implementation of projects. The EIB takes into account whether these projects are ‎going to be sustainable or not, and what will be the impact on climate change, she said.‎

COP24 is key in the international efforts to combat global warming, as the year 2018 was chosen by the ‎countries who signed the Paris Agreement as the deadline for the adoption of implementation ‎guidelines for the Paris Agreement work programme.

“We cannot afford to fail in Katowice,” UN ‎Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week.‎

The Paris Agreement was reached in 2015 in the French capital during the COP21 climate change ‎conference, and 197 countries agreed to step up their efforts to fight climate change problems and ‎keep global temperature rises to well under 2°C, which is above pre-industrial levels. The countries ‎also agreed to try to keep it close to 1.5°C as possible.‎

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