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November-December 2010

Vol. 35, No. 6

Congressional letter for Global Climate Fund

On October 5, five of the seven chairs of subcommittees of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs wrote to Secretary of State Clinton and her climate negotiations team to encourage the administration to promote establishing a new global climate fund at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Cancun this December (see related story). In particular, the subcommittee chairs requested the fund be transparent, equitable, effective and accountable while pointing to several models for successful international funds that work under these principles. The text of their letter follows below.

We are writing to show our strong support for the establishment of a new global climate fund under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the international climate negotiations in Cancun.

Around the world the impacts of climate change are occurring. The U.S. can demonstrate global leadership and ensure critical forward movement in the climate negotiations by supporting the establishment of an equitable, effective, and accountable global climate fund that is embraced by the international community. We strongly urge the administration to pursue the establishment of the fund as an essential step in its own right, one that should be taken now even as other parts of the negotiations mature separately.

A new global climate fund designed within the UNFCCC with the expertise, independence, and mandate to support developing countries in their efforts to build resilience to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a crucial component of addressing the global problem. Such a fund is also in the national security, economic, and moral interests of the U.S. Left unaddressed, climate impacts will fuel greater poverty and conflict over ever-scarcer resources - increasing global instability and exacerbating security risks. Such a fund will also be instrumental in protecting our investments in poverty alleviation and will re-assert U.S. credibility on climate change in the absence of comprehensive climate legislation.

To ensure the effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars and positive climate outcomes, the fund should embody principles of: transparency and accountability, direct access to funding based on agreed fiduciary standards and social safeguards, and full participation of affected communities, particularly women, and civil society. It is also essential that the fund is independent in management and governance from existing financial intuitions. Such principles are fundamental to the fund's integrity and will help ensure that effective, efficient and sustainable work on the ground is achieved.

We encourage the administration to look at three funds in particular as effective models: (1) The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria as a model that includes voting power for both civil society and affected community members, a fundamental commitment to country ownership, and strong oversight of funding; (2) the Adaptation Fund, as one that includes designated seats for countries most vulnerable to climate change and direct access to funding; and (3) the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol as one established under the authority of Parties to an international treaty, and based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.

As we head toward Cancun, we urge you and your negotiating team to do all you can to advance the establishment of a new global climate fund that is based on widely held principles of efficacy and equity, and proven models of success.

In addition to Secretary Clinton, the letter was also sent to the climate negotiations team:

  • Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change
  • Jonathan Pershing, U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change
  • Lael Brainard, Under Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Treasury
  • William Pizer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy, U.S. Treasury

Signed by Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega - Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment; Rep. Donald M. Payne – Chairman, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health; Rep. Eliot L. Engel – Chairman, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; Rep. Brad Sherman – Chairman, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and Rep. Gary L. Ackerman – Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia

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