Workshop on Climate Change Financing

18 Nov 2009


This report is a culmination of a one-day workshop organised in partnership with the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance that examined climate change financing mechanism across the world to better understand the implications of various proposals potentially under discussion at the international climate change negotiations for India.

At the inaugural session of the conference, the welcome address was delivered by LM Vas, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Government of India (GOI). LM Vas presented the objectives of the workshop, stressing the importance of building capacity within the Government of India on climate change fi nancing in order to better understand the implications of the various proposals potentially under discussion at the international climate change negotiations for India. She, in addition, highlighted how the workshop represents an example of the reciprocal trust and the excellent working relationship that exists between GOI and UNDP.

Patrice Coeur-Bizot, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative made some opening remarks that set the context for the joint workshop on Climate Change Financing by MOF and the UNDP. Also in attendance at the inauguration were Ashok Chawla, Finance Secretary, MOF, GOI and Alok Sheel, Joint Secretary, DEA, MOF, GOI.

In the context of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC), Conference of Parties (COP) at Copenhagen in December 2009, Patrice Coeur- Bizot emphasized the criticality of climate change as a global challenge that demanded collective action by the international community. He outlined the key role that a large country such as India could play in negotiating a deal that can produce credible results for the planet. Apart from the discussion on setting country emission targets, the other core issue is that of fi nancing mitigation and adaptation strategies. It is important to keep abreast of the developments and have an up-to-date understanding of the different issues related to fi nances, mechanisms and modalities.

UNDP has always considered climate change as a development issue. Addressing climate change cannot be successful without addressing poverty issues and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since the early 1990s, the UNDP has developed a high level of expertise on various aspects of climate change and has mobilized and delivered about USD 2 billion to fund cleaner energy access and effi ciency in over 100 countries. It has supported countries (including India) in preparing their National Communications to UNFCCC.

Patrice Coeur-Bizot closed his comments by highlighting some elements of UNDP’s partnership with the GOI on climate change issues. These include fi nancial support to national environmental and climate change related actions, technical support to National Communication to UNFCCC, support to preparing and implementing state level climate change action plans and in the area of adaptation. As the story of climate change unfolds in all its manifestations, it is pertinent to defi ne the context for India even though it is apparently the third largest emitter of CO2 worldwide. Ashok Chawla, in this regard, made an important distinction between the stock and the fl ow1 of greenhouses gases (GHGs), highlighting the fact that it is the stock of gases that is posing the big challenge. India is not responsible for past 1 Since carbon dioxide once emitted remains in the atmosphere for an estimated 100 years, current emissions are not the reason for the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. About 70 per cent of the accumulated emissions from the past have come from the developed world.

Inauguration Climate Change Financing 8 emissions and has made negligible contribution to this stock. Further, even though India is one of the largest emitters in terms of total emissions, its per capita emissions are very low as it is the second most populous country in the world. Climate change management nevertheless remains a critical component of the government’s agenda for development and so do concerns regarding climate change fi nancing.

Environmental management in the future is likely to demand signifi cant fi nancial resources. The questions that are raised include:

• Who will pay and how much?

• Are the resources enough given the magnitude of the problem?

• How will the money fl ow?

• What will be the instruments and channels?

• Will existing funds prove enough for fi nancing mitigation and adaptation

worldwide or should a new corpus be set up for the purpose?

• Should new institutions and structures dedicated to climate change management and fi nancing be set up?

Governments the world over are deliberating on these questions both internally and with each other in global forums—both in intimate groups such as the G20 as well as the within more representative forums such as the UNFCCC. In order to contribute fruitfully to the UNFCCC COP at Copenhagen, policy-makers and ministerial offi cials in India need to be exposed to the vast body information, literature and perspectives on the issue. Climate change is a highly nuanced and sensitive subject with a unique context for each country, each region within a country, and even each community with a region. To fully appreciate, assimilate and imbibe the implications of global discussions, negotiations and decisions for India and its people, this exercise of building capacities in DEA is extremely relevant. Alok Sheel introduced the agenda for the workshop.

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