poor countries slam the rich for not contributing enough to climate change

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The cost of adapting to climate change for the LDCs would rise to US$ 17bn by 2030 and the commitments of developed countries is making it an almost unachievable target

Developed countries were slammed for not doing enough to combat the impacts of climate change at the fourth UN’s summit of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that concluded yesterday in the Turkish capital of Istanbul.

For the first time ever, climate change was included in the agenda of the once-in-a-decade summit but nothing concrete or different came out of the summit on the issue.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech that developed countries ignoring global concerns were being seriously unfair to both their countries’ peoples and to all people in the world. He said, “There are problems that have no borders today, including environmental issues, climate change, poverty, terror and migration, which threaten not only certain countries or regions, but the whole world.”

Nepal Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal said the impact of climate change has affected LDCs severely. He called for all countries to take real action in addressing such major global challenges.

About 1,700 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attending the summit also criticized developed countries for not doing enough to fight climate change.

The developed countries are stuck with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commitments on climate change. They agreed to replenish and expedite disbursement of funds for adaptation under the UNFCCC negotiations like the LDC fund, adaptation fund, green climate fund and other funds.

Developed countries agreed to facilitate technology transfer and help LDCs address issues related to livelihood, food and health of people affected by climate change.

For disaster risk reduction, developed countries promised to provide financial and technical assistance to LDCs for emergency preparedness and post-disaster reconstruction efforts. LDCs will also get support to strengthen its capacity to reduce its vulnerability to natural disaster and benefit from regional and international early warning systems.

It was also revealed during the summit that the annual cost of climate change adaptation programs facing the LDCs at US$ 4bn will rise to US$ 17bn by 2030.

The LDC Fund meant to help LDCs with adaptation programs earlier saw 22 donor countries pledging US$ 221.5mn to the fund while only US$ 169.1mn have been deposited so far. The amount received can only be described as meager and insufficient showcasing that the developed countries are not taking the issue seriously.

Figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show that LDCs received only US$ 358mn in climate change-related official development assistance (ODA) in 2008, constituting only 0.8% of LDC-bound ODA in 2008.

The UNFCCC in 2008 estimated annual worldwide adaptation costs of between US$ 50bn and US$ 170bn by 2030.

The 2007-08 Human Development Report of the UN said annual adaptation investment needs would reach US$ 86bn globally by 2015.

The LDCs produce the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions but is bearing the brunt of climate change. Bhutan has made dedicated effort for environmental sustainability and has received global recognition for its conservation activities.  But Bhutan is highly vulnerable and exposed to extreme risk from natural hazards due to climate change. The receding Himalayan glacier has made countries like Bhutan and Nepal very vulnerable to Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF).