A senior UN official has sounded the alarm over the low pace of climate financing that goes to preserving forests.
Speaking in Douala, Cameroon during a workshop to train forest sector stakeholders on “climate finance and writing bankable projects”, Peter Gondo of the UN Forest Forum Secretariat said forests contribute to livelihoods, biodiversity, food security, climate change mitigation, with 75% of global water resources found in forests.
But when it comes to the amounts allocated to preserve those very forests, the figures are disappointingly low.
“Globally, less than 5% of climate finance is going to forests,” Gondo said in an exclusive interview.
“What we need to do is to increase the capacity for project preparation, but also to really come up with effective partnerships. I think if we want to do something in scale which has greater impact, we need to promote our regional partnerships and work together so that we aggregate our capacities.”
He said African countries are not yet drawing substantial benefits from available climate financing because stakeholders do not master the techniques of writing projects that fit the template.
“Climate finance is very specific. It is for activities that are going to contribute either to adaptation to the impacts of climate change or to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Many of the participants have not had any experience in preparing climate finance proposals. They tend to include other development challenges and issues in their proposals without really reflecting how this will address climate-related challenges.”
In addition, and because the financing comes from global institutions, such projects, he said should have global significance and be capable of bringing “transformational change.”
Mr. Gondo said while third world countries need to generate internal resources to fund climate projects, the greatest polluters need to live up to the promises they have made over time-to make available USD100 billion every year to enable underdeveloped countries to cope with the effects of climate change they did little to cause.
He said it requires bold action and political will, especially from the biggest emitters, including shifting incentives away from fossil fuels, eliminating subsidies and pricing carbon appropriately through carbon taxes and regulations, and mainstreaming climate and disaster risks.
“We are very glad to partner with the AFF to reinforce their capacities in climate financing necessary to preserve and protect the forests,” Mr. Gondo said.
Participants to the workshop that ends Friday, March 18 are not only acquainting themselves with existing and emerging financing sources but also how to craft projects that will attract climate financing.
The effort is part of the global fight to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.