ISLAMABAD: Despite being one of the most susceptible countries to climate change, Pakistan is behind some of the least developed countries in the world in the submission of proposals and grants received from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Countries such as Ethiopia, Mali, and Rwanda have received funds for multiple environmental projects, while Pakistan has only submitted one project so far.
GCF works within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world in order to assist the lower rung in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
One of the reasons for the delay in submitting proposals, officials say, is the lack of capacity of provincial environmental departments to outline projects.
Last week, the Ministry of Climate Change rejected 50 projects submitted by the provinces as they did not fulfill GCF criteria.
Read: Green Climate Fund: Minister urges countries to fulfill commitments
Climate Change Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan said the provinces do not have the capacity or expertise. He said the ministry was providing technical support to provincial departments.
Khan said a $33 million glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) project had been submitted to the GCF board. He expressed hope that two more projects would be submitted by the end of the month.
The ministry has also held a meeting with various banks to select an accredited national implementing entity (ANIE) through which funds would be channeled.
The GCF secretariat has received 74 requests so far, nine of which, totaling $2.5million, have been finalised for Comoros, The Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Mali, DR Congo, Rwanda, Togo Thailand, and Micronesia.
The fund has already provided support to 24 countries in the accreditation process of their national or regional entities. Accreditation is important because only GCF-accredited entities can be used to channel funds.
Japan’s contribution of $1.5 billion, signed in May this year, took the fund past the 50 per cent threshold required to start allocating resources for projects and programmes in developing countries.
Read: Climate change effects: ‘Poverty stricken areas most vulnerable’
This contribution brought the total for signed contribution agreements to $5.47 billion, or 58.5 per cent of the amount that countries committed at a GCF pledge conference in Berlin in November 2014.
Crossing the 50 per cent threshold was a necessary requirement set by the fund’s governing board to declare the fund effective.
A climatologist said the countries that submitted their projects early on will likely get funding. He feared Pakistan may once again miss this opportunity due to lack of capacity and any sense of urgency at the highest level.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.