There’s both an opportunity and a need for sub-national governments to begin contributing to some of the United Nations’ multilateral climate funds, according to speakers at a workshop in Agadir, Morocco that took place just days before Hurricane Irma flattened Antigua and Barbuda, forcing the island nation’s entire population to evacuate.
“Alternative finance, such as sub-national contributions to multilateral climate finance, can provide a very valuable complement to overall financial flows linked to the climate, in particular when it comes to the needs of developing countries,” Moroccan chief negotiator Aziz Mekouar told the opening session of the workshop. But Oxford Climate Policy (OCP) Managing Director Benito Müller pointed to the difference in “trust intensity”—the “developing country trust gained or lost per dollar contributed or reneged on” by developed vs. developing country donors—as a key factor driving climate finance negotiations.
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“I also argued that small multilateral funds are key to the functioning at scale of the overall multilateral financial mechanism in an essential division of labour,” he writes on the OCP blog. “The Green Climate Fund, intended to be the main multilateral climate finance channel, will not function at the intended scale unless it becomes a ‘wholesaler’, outsourcing the funding of micro-activities” to intermediaries in individual countries, or to more specialized bodies like the UN’s Least Developed Countries Fund and Adaptation Fund.
The workshop heard from the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development and from Massachusetts State Sen. Mike Barrett, discussing opportunities for provinces and states to contribute to the international climate finance effort. OCP’s Emilie Parry said a fact-finding tour in California had uncovered “considerable interest in, and good will towards, providing financial support to the multilateral climate funds,” Müller writes. “The main question raised was how, given that there are legal impediments to the California government spending money outside the state.”
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