UNITED NATIONS — UN chief Ban Ki-moon set up a high-level advisory panel Friday to mobilize funding to help developing nations battle climate change.
The panel, to be led by Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Ethiopian counterpart Meles Zenawi, aimed "to mobilize the resources for climate change pledged at the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen," Ban told reporters.
The group, evenly balanced between developed and developing nations, "will develop practical proposals to significantly scale up long-term (public and private) financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries," he added.
The UN boss said the group would specifically seek to marshal new and innovative resources to reach a 100-billion-dollar target by 2020 to fund "adaptation, mitigation, technology development and transfer, and capacity building in developing countries, with priority for the most vulnerable."
The panel was set to include heads of state and government, top officials from ministries and central banks as well as experts on public finance, development and related issues.
Ban said the composition of the panel would be announced shortly and revealed that he planned to ask Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to join.
The secretary-general, who was linked by video conference with Brown and Meles, said he expected the panel to deliver a preliminary report at the May-June meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which provides a planetary arena for tackling climate change.
"Finance for adaptation and mitigation and transfer of technology are of central significance for developing countries in general and the poor and vulnerable countries in particular," the Ethiopian premier said from Addis Ababa.
Meles said while the funding provisions of the Copenhagen accord fell below the expectations of many in the developing world, "they have nevertheless been welcomed by most of our leaders as exemplified by the endorsement of the accord by the recently concluded summit of the African Union."
"This time around the promises made have to be kept because the alternative is irresponsible management of the climate, followed by catastrophic changes," he warned.
He voiced optimism that the work of the panel would make it possible for poor nations to join the developed world in Mexico for a final and binding treaty on climate change "with the confidence that promises made on finance will be kept."
Mexico is to host the next UN-sponsored climate summit from November 29 to December 10 in the beach resort of Cancun.
"We must put in place the transparency for measurement, reporting and verification and we must take forward the cooperation on technology and we must deepen international agreement through a detailed set of rules and governments arrangements under the United Nations to be finalised in Cancun later this year," Brown said.
Meanwhile, Oxfam International warned that Ban's high-level panel "cannot be another talking shop" and must make concrete recommendations on how the 100 billion dollars should be raised.
"The 100 billion dollars has to start flowing soon. Poor countries desperately need this money to cope with a changing climate and reduce their emissions, and rich countries need to show that they can be trusted to deliver on their promises of climate action," Oxfam adviser Robert Bailey, said in a statement. "Trust must be rebuilt if a global climate deal is to be achieved."
In December, a 194-nation UN-led summit in Copenhagen pledged to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two Celsius), along with billions of dollars in financing. It gave countries until January 31 to sign on.
Cobbled together at the 11th hour by leaders from a handful of nations led by the United States and China, the controversial Copenhagen agreement fell well short of the binding and comprehensive climate treaty once hoped for.
A 2007 report by a UN panel of scientists said that human-caused climate change was unequivocally a fact and that it would threaten droughts, floods and other severe weather along with the survival of entire species if unchecked.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »