Climate fund donations underwhelm ahead of COP28

A climate fund conference in Bonn has failed to attract enough pledges to meet the UN's target. The money is meant for developing countries that need to adapt to climate change

Twenty-five countries promised donations to the Green Climate Fund, with Germany alone pledging €2 billion (photo: DW)
Twenty-five countries promised donations to the Green Climate Fund, with Germany alone pledging €2 billion (photo: DW)


Pledges for a UN climate fund that were made by several countries during a conference in the western German city of Bonn on Thursday have fallen shy of their target, authorities said.

The fund is earmarked for projects in developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and extreme weather between 2024 and 2027.

The pledges reached $9.3 billion (€8.8 billion), falling shy of the $10 billion target, and well below the $200 billion to $250 billion that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change estimated would be needed every year until 2030.

How much did countries pledge?

Twenty-five countries promised donations to the Green Climate Fund, with Germany alone pledging €2 billion.

Most countries, including Germany, Austria and France, increased their pledges, while Denmark, Ireland and Liechtenstein doubled theirs.

At the same time, five countries, including Australia, Italy and Sweden did not offer any contributions at Thursday's conference but said they were working on pledges.

The United States and China — the world's largest economies and two main polluters — did not pledge any funds.

Washington said it was reeling from budget issues after the Republican Party almost forced a government shutdown, but a representative said a pledge was in the works.

China has yet to agree to join the UN fund.

Criticism over lack of funds

"The collected sum will likely turn out to be much higher," the German Foreign Ministry and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a joint statement.

German Economic Development Minister Svenja Schulze, who hosted the Bonn conference, said more countries need to contribute their "fair share."

"Besides the other industrialized nations, I increasingly see also the responsibility of countries who are not part of the classical donors: for example, Gulf states that got rich due to fossil energy, or emerging nations such as China who by now are responsible for a large share of carbon emission," said Schulze.

However, NGOs and civil society groups said the promised funding was nowhere near enough to cover the needs of those countries facing the brunt of climate change.

"The Green Climate Fund, envisioned as the lifeline for climate action in developing nations, is held back by the indifference of wealthy countries," said Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy of the Climate Action Network International, a global network of over 1900 environmental civil society organizations in over 130 countries.

"The silence of the United States... is glaring and inexcusable," Singh said.

The UN's COP28 climate summit is set to take place in Dubai at the end of November.

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Published: 06 Oct 2023, 9:25 AM