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Michele de Nevers is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development specializing in climate finance issues. Before joining CGD she was a Visiting Fellow at the Global Economic Governance Programme at University College, Oxford. From 1981 to 2010 she worked for the World Bank, including as Senior Manager of the Environment Department and Director at the World Bank Institute. In the Environment Department she led the preparation of the WB's corporate Environment Strategy and the global consultations on the Bank’s Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change Michele holds an MS in Management, with a concentration in Finance, from MIT and a BA in Bacteriology from the University of California, Berkeley.
A Conference Co-Hosted by the Center for Global Development (CGD), the Korean Development Institute (KDI), and the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
Mobilizing and allocating finance to address the global public goods dimensions of climate change—both emissions reductions and resilience—is one of the great policy challenges of our age. Within the development and climate finance policy communities, most of the attention has focused, understandably, on how to raise the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be needed. After all, if you can’t raise it you can’t spend it. However, one major obstacle in mobilizing climate finance has been a lack of consensus on how new public climate money would be best spent.
The October 9th, 2013, conference, “How to Spend It (If We Had It): Priorities for Allocating International Climate Change Finance” jointly organized by Center for Global Development, the Korean Development Institute (KDI), and the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), will showcase perspectives from technical experts and policymakers on how to make the best use of international public climate finance. This day-long conference is designed to provide potential solutions to address challenges such as evaluating criteria for country allocations, identifying priorities among sectors and approaches, establishing effective disbursement mechanisms, and exploring innovative financing techniques that can successfully leverage public funds for climate change finance.
Are climate finance contributor countries, multilateral aid agencies and specialized funds using widely accepted best practices in foreign assistance? How is it possible to measure and compare international climate finance contributions when there are as yet no established metrics or agreed definitions of the quality of climate finance? As a subjective metric, quality can mean different things to different stakeholders, while of donor countries, recipients and institutional actors may place quality across a broad spectrum of objectives.
Many obstacles to development transcend national borders and therefore cannot be adequately addressed within a single country. These include issues such as drug resistance and other cross-border health risks, financial crises contagion, money laundering, water scarcity, fisheries collapse and, of course, climate change. Economists call efforts to address these problems Global Public Goods (GPGs). Like other public goods, funding for GPGs is chronically in short supply: of $125 billion in annual official development assistance (ODA ) only about $3 billion goes to GPGs.
What do the stalled climate talks getting underway in Doha, Qatar, this week and the partisan jousting in Washington over the impending “fiscal cliff” have in common? Not much if you get your information from the mainstream media, which has mostly either ignored the idea or poured cold water on it. Below the surface, however, there is fresh interest in the United States in taxing carbon pollution, including from some unexpected quarters. Such a move can’t come soon enough.
Update November 17: As expected, the United States and Japan announced their pledges of $3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, to the Green Climate Fund at the G-20 summit in Australia. The United Kingdom is set to announce a £650 million ($1 billion pledge) in Berlin later this week and Canada said it will contribute, although it did not announce how much. Together with pledges from 11 other countries, total pledges amount to $7.5 billion, getting close to the $10 billion target for beginning operations of the Green Climate Fund. Pledges are also expected from Australia (despite the step-back from climate action by the new government), Italy, Norway, and Spain. The agreement reached by the Green Climate Fund board a few weeks ago, which approved a logical framework for REDD+, may spur Norway to pledge given it lays the groundwork for GCF support to forests.
I’ve spent the last year at CGD working with a team of experts to figure out how to encourage more funders to pay tropical forest countries for results in reducing deforestation. My CGD colleagues Jonah Busch and Frances Seymour have done extensive research that documents that forests are critical for development and to combat climate change. And paying forest countries for performance – actual results in reducing deforestation – can provide an essential incentive and can complement funding for inputs, as reflected in CGD’s Cash-on-Delivery aid research.
The international forest and climate communities have placed high hopes on the potential for compliance carbon markets to generate funding to reduce tropical deforestation through international forest offsets. At a meeting last week in San Francisco on “Navigating the American Carbon World” (NACW) it seemed as if these hopes are likely to be dashed. Or at least not realized in time to save the vast tropical forests in time for them to play a significant role in combatting dangerous climate change.
The Senate voted today (Thursday) to move ahead with legislation to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport millions of barrels of dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast, mostly to be refined and exported to other countries (legislation destined for the Presidential veto). Strange, then, that last week the Senate voted 98-1 to approve a resolution stating that “climate change is real and not a hoax.”
The World Bank’s expanding public information mandate is the focus of Stephanie Strom’s excellent article in Saturday’s New York Times. During Robert Zoellick’s tenure as the Bank’s president, he has promoted free public access to databases that formerly required a paid subscription, such as the World Development Indicators, or were simply unavailable (such as detailed information on the location, design, objectives and performance of Bank projects). We have no doubt that this excellent initiative will be a boon to development analysts and scholars worldwide.