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A child walking during the 2016 severe tropical cyclone Winston

Is the Green Climate Fund the key to unlock the climate agreement door? David Viner

In advance of next year's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual Conference of the Parties, the Green Climate Fund has been set up.

Next year, world leaders will convene in Paris to thrash out a legally binding deal on climate change. In the run up to this meeting, governments are currently putting in place the groundwork for a legally binding international agreement to tackle climate change. There is now strong momentum to address the requirements for financing climate change adaptation measures for developing countries.

In response to this, developed countries have agreed to set up the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This has been designed to mobilise at least US$100 billion a year from both government and private sector sources by 2020 for adaptation and resilience financing in developing countries. To launch the GCF and to demonstrate intent for next year’s conference, developed country governments have agreed to provide US$10 billion of funding by the end of 2014. So far, the United States has pledged US$3 billion, Japan US$1.5 billion and France and Germany US$1 billion each. The United Kingdom has also now joined the fund, pledging a further US$1 billion from its existing aid budget through the International Climate Fund. So why is the UK committing such capital?

Firstly, it will seek to gain support for a deal to minimise the impact of climate change. Dangerous climate change has been quantified as keeping the increase in global mean temperature below 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels and we are already 0.9°C above that now. Secondly, there is an increasing amount of evidence that shows that it is the poorest and most vulnerable communities who will bear the brunt and most severe impacts from climate change. This is likely to have demonstrable negative impacts on traditional aid programmes and targets such as Millennium Development Goals. Finally, the negative impacts of climate change are destabilising already fragile economies and societies, leading to conflict, economic decline and migration. Overall, delivering finance for climate adaptation and resilience will provide long-term benefits for the UK and other developed countries. Above all else it will benefit the lives of the most vulnerable people around the world.

Mott MacDonald is working with various international aid organisations and finance institutions to deliver programmes that are building resilience to climate change. Our projects take into account the current and future impacts of climate change and also build in educational and knowledge transfer capacity for climate change.

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