Monday, December 07, 2009

Some undercover reporting from OXFAM

OXFAM has done some undercover reporting and found documents that prove that aid budgets could be raided for climate control purposes. The money originally meant to go to other aid projects like health care or development could now be used for climate change.

The raiding of aid budgets is expected to happen in order to reach a deal at this week's UN climate talks in Copenhagen. The promise of money will help to finalize a deal, and it may not be new money from the rich nations.

From The Vancouver Sun, writer Pete Harrison further explains what OXFAM found.

Developing nations want billions of dollars a year to help them adapt to a problem they say was initially caused by industrialised countries. The EU says poor countries will need around 100 billion euros ($150 billion) a year by 2020, of which as much as half would come from the public purse globally.

But it has also proposed up to $10 billion a year of "fast start" funding in the three years before any Copenhagen deal kicks in. The United States has embraced the idea of early funding, but has been less forthcoming on long-term aid.

"The financial support - short or long term - is probably the most important bargaining chip that developed countries have at their disposal when seeking a comprehensive global agreement," said an informal paper by the Swedish EU presidency.

"For fast-start actions, existing funds should be used," added the document, seen by Reuters.

Oxfam said the mention of using existing funds showed politicians were considering taking funds that have already been earmarked for schools and hospitals, and presenting them as new money to tackle climate change.

Such funds might be used to develop drought-resistant crops, build dams to control dwindling water supplies, or be spent on flood protection.

"We have been watching global negotiations over climate finance for months, and it now seems clear that pledges of fast-start money will involve cannibalising existing promises of overseas aid," said Oxfam campaigner Tim Gore.

"This undercover accounting is an attempt to win the support of developing countries for a deal in Copenhagen, which distracts attention from the big long-term commitments of real money that poor countries need," he added.

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