Climate: Website tracks Copenhagen pledges

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Six rich economies joined a website unveiled here Friday detailing pledges in short-term aid they made at last December's climate summit, a move aimed at restoring damaged trust with developing countries.

The portal, showed that Britain, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway had so far allocated the equivalent of 3.2 billion dollars in climate funds.

Twenty-seven poorer countries are named as beneficiaries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Morocco and the Philippines. Details of the projects and the timescale of funding were not given.

A sixth donor, Germany, said it had promised 1.26 billion euros, but has yet to say how the money would be alloted.

"It will give trust that promises are being kept. I expect in the months to come much more countries will sign in the website," Dutch Environment Minister Tineke Huizinga, who conceived the project, told reporters.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of an informal meeting on climate finance in Geneva, gathering more than 40 countries.

The commitments are part of an overall package of 30 billion dollars that rich countries declared in "fast-start" aid for 2010, 2011 and 2012 at the Copenhagen summit to help the poor tackle global warming and its impacts.

The money was seen as a show of good faith in the troubled negotiations under the banner of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In the long term, according to a parallel but sketchier pledge made in Copenhagen, rich countries have promised to mobilise jointly 100 billion dollars a year by 2020.

But the infighting that marred Copenhagen left scars of mistrust among developing countries.

Poorer nations are keeping a watchful eye on the fast-track finances, insisting that donors honour the Copenhagen vow that funding be "new and additional."

Suspicions are high that a big chunk of the money will come from development aid or other budgets, thus damaging poverty alleviation in order to fulfill a political commitment.

Huizinga acknowledged that the information was provided by donor countries and the new portal did not identify the source of the funds.

"The website will not answer that particular debate," she said.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres endorsed the initiative.

She said agreeing on finance was a "golden key" for success at the UNFCCC's year-end conference in Cancun, Mexico.

The November 29-December 10 parlay aims at reviving negotiations, with an eye to sealing the elusive climate treaty a year later.

© 2010 AFP

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