India says developed countries diverting climate change funds

India airs concerns ahead of the third Financing for Development conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa


The FFD comes ahead of UN member nations adopting a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) during the UN General Assembly session in September. Photo: Reuters
The FFD comes ahead of UN member nations adopting a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) during the UN General Assembly session in September. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: Ahead of a key international conference on financing development goals, India has flagged concerns over developed countries diverting money earmarked for development into funds meant for climate change mitigation.

Adarsh Swaika, director in the UN economic and social division in the ministry of external affairs, also expressed the hope that a technology facilitation mechanism that aims to allow easier transfer of climate change mitigation technology to developing countries, agreed to in 2012, would be set up soon.

The concerns were aired ahead of the third Financing for Development (FFD) conference that starts in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday.

The FFD comes ahead of UN member nations adopting a new set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) during the UN General Assembly session in September.

These include gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, securing availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and promoting “inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”

The SDGs will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) outlined in the year 2000. The MDGs were time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty—including income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion while promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability.

The FFD in Ethiopia also comes ahead of a conference on climate change expected to finalize a global pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions later this year.

The Addis Ababa conference would help developing countries “know what are the means of implementing the goals to finance such an aspirational (SDG) agenda,” Swaika said. He was speaking at a conference organized by the Delhi-based Research and Information Systems (RIS) for Developing Countries think tank.

One of the contentious issues in the run-up to the Ethiopia conference has been the trends in the allocation of overseas developmental assistance (ODA) by developed countries, Swaika said.

“We have also seen the trend of allocation of ODA towards other things particularly towards climate finance. We have not seen $100 billion (a pledge made by rich nations in Copenhagen in December 2009 to provide as much as $100 billion a year by 2020). But they (the developed countries) say you can’t see it but it’s there,” Swaika said.

“But the whole jargon in climate finance terms is a new additional predictable (fund) and I think that is not what ODA is. I think we have to see the distinction there,” he said.

“Another important gain that we see in the outcome document would be the creation of a technology facilitation mechanism. I think this issue has also been long debated in the UN system, given that in the Rio conference (on sustainable development in 2012) it was agreed to create such a mechanism to help developing countries to get access to environment friendly technologies,” he said.

“But, for the last four years, there have been numerous debates at the UN... but we have still not been able to agree on such a mechanism... if it happens, it will be a big gain for developing countries,” he said.

In his opening remarks, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, who now heads the RIS think tank, noted that traditional financial flows in the form of ODA from traditional donors was showing a decline—a development related to the ongoing global economic crisis.

“We have not yet got over that crisis (that started in 2008)... much of the expectations that we have with respect to some of the goals that we are committing ourselves to in the post-2015 period relating to climate change or development cooperation, the (global) economic situation is not very propitious,” Saran said.

Against this backdrop, some developing nations were coming to the fore as contributors and these countries included India, China and Brazil.

As countries prepare for the FFD, the challenge before it would be to find the resources and secondly to figure out an effective way to deliver those resources and how they are evaluated, he added.

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