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Food for thought: UNFCCC administrators strapped for cash

June 22, 2011

This comes after a Business Times article reported that the UNFCCC is asking its 194 parties to boost its approxmate $25 million annual budget by about 15% for 2012 and 2013. The full Proposed progamme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 can be downloaded here.

The proposal has so far been rejected by the handful of rich nations that usually foot the bill, according to some sources at Bonn, where some 3000 delegates and observers gathered over a 2 week period early this month. The goal was to define a comprehensive and balanced outcome that would enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC through long-term cooperative action now, up to and beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

An internal document revealed that failure to increase the budget could have ‘fundamental institutional and process implications for parties and the secretariat’.

While money issues to keep the UN climate machinery running are not new, this spat clearly opens up a can of worms about financing the very expensive talks which occur at least 3 times a year. Climate talks are normally held in March, June and November/December and usually in Bangkok, Bonn and a chosen host country for the Conference of Parties session. This year, Durban will be hosting the 17th session of the Conference of Parties.

Furthermore, Japan is by far the 2nd largest contributor out of a total of 17 Party contributors trailing behind Sweden (UNFCCC Finance Portal). With its current struggles in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Japan has called for ‘zero growth’ in the UNFCCC spending. It is reported that the US and Europeans are also following suit with this position.

What are some of your thoughts on financing the UNFCCC? Who should finance it and is it fair?

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