The UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) reached its goal of raising $10 billion on Tuesday, after Australia announced that it will donate 200 million Australian dollars, or $166 million, at a global climate conference in Lima, Peru. In addition, Belgium pledged 51.6 million euros ($64 million), further boosting the fund.
GCF, which falls under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aims to help developing countries counter the effects of climate change by redistributing the donations among them. The Australian government had previously said that it will continue to aid vulnerable countries in the Pacific region bilaterally, rather than donate to the UN-backed fund. The country had also faced criticism for not making a pledge at a donors' meeting last month in Lima.
“We will allocate $200 million over four years from our aid programme to Australia’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund which will bring total international contributions to the fund to over the target of USD$10 billion,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a joint statement.
The Australian government expects the GCF pledge to facilitate private sector-led economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region, with a particular focus on investment in infrastructure, energy, forestry and emissions reduction programs, according to the statement.
“We've got above one of the psychologically important milestones of more than $10 billion,” Hela Cheikhrouhou, GCF's head, told Reuters, adding that pledges by 24 nations now total $10.14 billion.
While the majority of the countries attending the Lima conference welcomed the donations from Australia and Belgium, China said that developed countries are not providing enough help to meet a broader goal of raising $100 billion a year by 2020.
“The Lima conference should adopt a clear roadmap on finance by 2020 by specifying the annual amount of public finance by every developed nation, every year,” Xie Zhenhua, China's chief negotiator and vice chairman of the country’s National Development and Reform Commission, told Reuters.