When it comes to providing funds to help developing countries address climate change, Canada has laid a foundation — and now it’s time to build on it.

That is among the findings of Protecting our Common Future, a new report from the Canadian NGO Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D), which assesses the impact of the $1.2 billion Canada provided to developing countries to tackle climate change from 2010 to 2012.

The report also says ongoing financial support is critical for the global fight against climate change.
“A new contribution of $400 million/year between 2013 and 2015 would be a significant step toward fulfilling the Government of Canada pledge under the Copenhagen Accord to provide long-term financing for developing countries,” says Carol Thiessen, Senior Policy Advisor at Canadian Foodgrains Bank and co-chair of C4D. She notes that the November 11-22 United Nations conference on climate change in Warsaw—which new Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will attend—would be a great place to announce Canada’s ongoing commitment.

Between 2010 and 2012, the Canadian government provided its fair share of a $30 billion global fast-start fund to help poor countries address the effects of a changing climate, as part of its commitment through the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, says Thiessen.

The report found, however, that over 80 percent of the money went to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite an international commitment under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord that countries balanced their support between activities that help slow climate change and those that help vulnerable communities respond to the changes that are already occurring.

“Although it was a small proportion of Canada’s total funding, most of the dollars directed to adaptation went to countries highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which is positive,” says Brian Tomlinson, the principal researcher for the study. Other findings from the report include:

  • 74 percent of Canada’s contribution flowed through multilateral banks as loans, repayable to Canada, one of the highest ratios of loans amongst donors.
  • It wasn’t clear how Canada’s climate change financing is supporting key development goals, such as poverty reduction and the realization of human rights.

Protecting our Common Future recommends that future financing aim for a 50/50 balance in financing between adaptation and emission reduction efforts, with no loans for adaptation.

“We recognize that some loans are appropriate for financing a clean energy transition, but not for supporting vulnerable populations in adapting to the changes they are already experiencing,” says Clare Demerse, director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, a national sustainable energy think tank.

“If the government continues to provide loans for emission reductions in the future, these should be repaid not to Canada but into revolving funds that continue to offer benefits to recipients,” she adds.
The report goes on to urge Canada to build on some of the positive climate finance programs of the 2010-12 period—and highlight the achievements and challenges of the fast-start program to Canadians.

Read the full report and policy brief of Protecting our Common Future: An Assessment of Canada’s Fast-Start Climate Financing


Carol Thiessen, co-chair,
Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D) and
Senior Policy Advisor at Canadian Foodgrains Bank
cthiessen@foodgrainsbank.ca 204-926-4246 or 204-293-2191 (cell)

Clare Demerse
Director of Federal Policy, The Pembina Institute
clared@pembina.org / 613-762-7449 (cell)

Brian Tomlinson
Principal Researcher for Protecting our Common Future
Executive Director, AidWatch Canada
brian.t.tomlinson@gmail.com / 902 538-1429.

The Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development is a group of development and environmental organizations that have joined together to bring the voice of the international development community to the debate on Canada’s response to climate change. Members include Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Pembina Institute, World Vision Canada, CARE Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, Oxfam Canada and Halifax Initiative.

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