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UN’s Green Climate Fund asks donors to dig deeper in tough financial times

BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The Green Climate Fund, one of the main sources of finance for developing nations to tackle climate change, is hoping wealthy countries will pledge between $9 billion and $10 billion to refill its coffers at a conference in Paris on Friday.

Climate finance analysts said the outcome would be key to building trust with poorer states preparing more ambitious climate action plans which are due to be submitted to the United Nations by the end of 2020.

Environment and development groups are calling for at least $15 billion in new commitments for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), saying projects that may use up close to that amount are already in the pipeline, with needs only increasing as the planet warms.

Lucile Dufour, international policy advisor with Climate Action Network France, said the GCF replenishment was happening “at a crucial point in the fight against climate change”, and called on donors to double their contributions at a minimum.

“This is a matter of justice and survival for developing countries and the most vulnerable communities,” she told journalists, noting the devastation from increasingly wild weather around the world.

The fund’s executive director, Yannick Glemarec, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation this week’s meeting would be a “success” if pledges exceeded the $9.3 billion garnered at its first conference in 2014.

Since late last year the fund has secured pledges of about $7.4 billion from 16 countries for 2020-2023, with large donors like Germany, France and Britain doubling 2014 contributions.

New announcements from some other potentially large donors are expected to raise that figure on Friday, including Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Finland and Belgium.

“It is not easy right now for any kind of financial contributors to dramatically increase their contribution because most of them are facing real budgetary constraints,” Glemarec said, noting some “exceptional efforts” to double donations.

Despite total promises of just over $10 billion for the fund’s first five years, U.S. President Donald Trump, a climate-change skeptic, refused to deliver two-thirds of his country’s $3 billion pledge.

Currency fluctuations meanwhile further cut the actual total available to the fund, to about $7.2 billion.