By Leigh Thomas
PARIS (Reuters) – Donor governments pledged $9.8 billion (7.6 billion pounds) in fresh financing for the Green Climate Fund, set up to help developing nations tackle global warming, the head of France’s Treasury said on Friday.
The fund’s executive director Yannick Glemarec said the amount was nothing short of historic, though environmental and development groups such as Oxfam had hoped the pledging conference in Paris would raise as much as $15 billion.
French Treasury head Odile Renaud-Basso said a number of donor countries, including Britain, France and Germany, had doubled their latest pledges, helping make up for a loss of funds from the United States.
“Now what is at stake is making these pledges concrete so the fund can work efficiently and disburse (money),” Renaud-Basso told journalists after the conference.
The fund became operational in 2015 after governments pledged $10.3 billion in a first round of funding. That amount was later reduced to $8.3 billion after the United States announced plans to pull out of the Paris climate accord.
However, fluctuations in the value of the dollar against other currencies further reduced the amount to $7.2 billion, of which 5.2 billion has so far been committed to support 111 projects.
The money was used to help finance projects ranging from low-cost green housing in Mongolia’s polluted capital, to a rapid-transit bus system in Karachi using methane, and restoring climate-threatened ecosystems in Namibia.
The South Korea-based fund provides financing alongside public lenders like the World Bank or in partnership with commercial banks.
Britain was the biggest contributor in the latest round of funding, followed closely by France and Germany, Glemarec said.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by GV De Clercq and David Holmes)