Britain Angers Poor Nations With Plan To Switch Aid From Health And Education To Green Industry

  • Date: 10/12/09

The Times: National aid budgets dedicated to reducing global poverty would be raided to establish a “climate fund” to help developing countries to adapt to climate change, under a British plan tabled yesterday in Copenhagen. Money earmarked for education or health would be diverted into projects such as solar panels and wind farms.

The proposal has angered developing countries, which are demanding that all the money in the climate fund be additional to the 0.7 per cent of income that industrialised countries have pledged to give as overseas aid.

Poor nations had hoped that the British plan, devised with Norway, Australia and Mexico, would establish the principle that the climate fund be entirely new money.

The plan suggests there will be a significant overlap between aid and climate budgets. It says: “Some have stressed that climate finance should be clearly new and additional to finance already committed for Millennium Development Goals [on reducing global poverty]. Others have pointed to the clear overlap between climate and development objectives.”

A British official refused to say what proportion of the climate fund would be new money. He said the Government had pledged last summer that only 10 per cent of Britain’s aid budget would be diverted to the climate fund.

Britain has refused to give any indication of the size of its contribution to the climate fund. The 10 per cent of aid money could represent most of Britain’s contribution, meaning there would be very little additional money.

The European Union has proposed that global contributions to the climate fund should reach €100 billion (£90 billion) a year by 2020. But it wants an undisclosed proportion of that to be from developing countries.

Oxfam estimates that diverting aid to the climate fund will mean at least 75 million fewer children attending school in developing countries and 8.6 million fewer people having access to HIV/Aids treatment.

Copyright 2009, The Times

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