Bangladesh Leads Call for Rich Nations to Deliver $500B in Climate Funding

John Bechtel
Bangladesh Leads Call for Rich Nations to Deliver $500B in Climate Funding Bangladeshis gather next to a medical center building after soil erosion caused it to collapse into the Padma River about 40 km (25 miles) south of Dhaka, Sept. 13, 2018.

Forty-eight countries that say they are the world’s most vulnerable to climate change are demanding wealthy countries deliver on a pledge of U.S. $500 billion in climate financing by 2024 to help them adapt.

At the first-ever summit by its finance ministers, the Vulnerable 20 group – which has more than doubled in size since it was formed in 2015 – this week called for a solid plan to demonstrate how to fulfill this as yet unmet commitment.

“We are specifically demanding a joint ‘delivery plan’ from the developed nations to concretely demonstrate how the $100 billion in annual climate finance will be met over the five years’ period from 2020 to 2024 within total a minimum of $500 billion of climate finance provided,” the nations said in a communiqué at the end of the virtual summit hosted by Bangladesh on Thursday.

During her opening address, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued a challenge to other nations.

“Our national parliament declared a ‘planetary emergency’ and called everyone to work ‘on a war footing’ to stop climate change. We expect similar actions from the rest of the global leaders,” Hasina said.

“We would like to call upon the developed countries to reduce their carbon emissions drastically. We also count on the delivery of the agreed $100 billion per annum as climate finance,” she said.

The end-of-summit communiqué expressed similar concerns.

“[W]e are concerned that less than half of all nations, and particularly the major carbon emitting nations, failed to increase the ambition of their nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement for the once-in-five-year mandated deadline, even despite our appeals to the international community,” it said.

An associate with the Sustainable Finance Center at the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) said the developing nations had sent a clear signal that they expected to collect the full amount of $500 billion.

“That’s a smart way of framing it,” Joe Thwaites told BenarNews.

He said the most up-to-date figure, from 2018, showed that about $79 billion had been donated, but because there was a two-year lag in reporting, totals for 2020 were due next year.

“I don’t know what was delivered in 2019 and 2020,” Thwaites said, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive disruption in international finances.

“It’s hard to say what the state of play is for 2020,” he said.

The deal for developed nations to contribute $100 billion per year beginning in 2020 to developing nations surfaced in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, and was finalized the next year in Cancun and reaffirmed as a key element of the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to a recent U.N.  report.

The December 2020 report, “Delivering on the $100 billion Climate Finance Commitment and Transforming Climate Finance” and commissioned by U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said the goal for 2020 likely was not met.

Two WRI staffers were a part of the group that authored the report.

UN secretary general speaks out

On Thursday, Guterres joined the V20 finance ministers in calling for developing nations to step up.

“But I am keenly aware that developing countries need reassurance that their ambition will be met with much-needed – and still lacking – financial and technical support,” Guterres said in a virtual address.

“To rebuild trust, developed countries must clarify now how they will effectively deliver $100 billion in climate finance annually to the developing world, as was promised over a decade ago,” he said. “Solidarity begins with the $100 billion. We need a clear plan on this goal from now until 2025.”

In April, Bangladesh and the Philippines leaders brought up similar concerns about a lack of funding during the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by the United States.

“Ensuring the annual target of 100 billion U.S. dollars” is imperative, Hasina said at the time.

A 2014 report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identified Bangladesh as being at risk from climate change because of its exposure to sea-level rise, extreme weather events and concentrated poverty.

Bangladesh’s population at risk of sea level rise is predicted to grow to 27 million by 2050, the report also said.

Three months later, the summit communiqué offered a bleak assessment before offering hope in its conclusion.

“We are not nearing the point of no return; we have arrived at it,” it said.

Still, “the failure to deliver climate finance does not have to be permanent. Despite the high degree of uncertainty and the great and growing need for more predictability, the ultimate equation remains unchanged: risks and the opportunities arising from the climate crisis will continue to be determined by where and how financial resources are mobilized, monitored, exchanged, and invested,” it said in the conclusion.


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