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ADB boosts climate funds

People fish in a flooded rice field during wet season in Svay Rieng province where monsoonal rains caused wide spread flooding. The ADB plans to double its climate funding in the region which will include an increase to disaster-management programs.
People fish in a flooded rice field during wet season in Svay Rieng province where monsoonal rains caused wide spread flooding. The ADB plans to double its climate funding in the region which will include an increase to disaster-management programs. Sreng Meng Srun

ADB boosts climate funds

The pool of climate finances available to Southeast Asia is set to expand following an announcement by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that it plans to double its climate funding to the region by 2020 – a move welcomed by the Cambodian government and climate NGOs yesterday.

According to a statement by ADB president Takehiko Nakao following the conclusion of the COP21 climate meeting in Paris on Monday, the bank aims to boost its annual climate budget to $6 billion over the next five years to support developing member countries in realising their climate strategies, or “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDC). Cambodia has already said it will need some $1.27 billion to fund its own INDC.

“The focus must now shift toward implementation,” he explained. “The financing decision agreed in Paris will go a long way to help develop low-carbon economies and build resilience and adaptive capacity for developing countries.”

Of the increased funds, $4 billion will be dedicated to mitigation schemes such as renewable energy, sustainable transport and urban efficiency, while $2 billion has been allocated for adaptation programs like resilient infrastructure, climate-smart agriculture and disaster-management.

A spokesperson for the ADB said that details of the funding scheme as applied to Cambodia have yet to be finalised, but the funding boost for mitigation has been welcomed by the Kingdom’s officials.

Uy Kamal, deputy director of the Ministry of Environment’s Climate Change Department, said that the new allocations reflected greater parity in ADB funding, which was previously weighted toward shorter-term adaptation – the immediate priority of developing countries like Cambodia.

“Many development partners and NGOs now also have their eye on mitigation schemes,” he explained.

However, civil society representatives said yesterday that while the increase in funding was laudable, priorities should remain focused on adaption, as have the bulk of ADB-funded schemes in the past.

“Cambodia doesn’t cause climate change but is vulnerable to climate change, and mitigation doesn’t benefit so much [as] the resilience-building, which is urgently needed by farmers,” said Nop Polin, a member of Cambodia’s civil-society COP21 delegation, and a climate consultant for Christian Aid.

As Polin explained, any international funding schemes such as that by the ADB must also seek maximum efficiency and accountability in project spending.

“It is important that the fund is allocated through a transparent and accountable process and meets the real needs and priorities of the vulnerable communities,” he said, advocating a grassroots implementation process.

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