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Paying two bills with one budget

The target that industrialised country government’s should spend 0.7% GNI on aid was set in the seventies — long before climate change was recognised as the issue we know it is today. Climate change is an additional pressure — a new threat to development. So we need new money to deal with it.

The UK and other governments have committed under the Copenhagen Accord to provide ‘new and additional’ funding. It’s a shame, then, to read the words of government whip Baroness Verma, speaking in the Lords this week:

The Government are committed to honouring the 0.7 per cent commitment on overseas aid from 2013. … The UK’s £1.5 billion commitment to fast-start funding for climate change between 2010 and 2012 is drawn from the UK’s aid budget.

So — new and additional to what? This question will keep on coming back until the United Kingdom and other industrialised countries can answer it adequately. Developing countries rightly expect to see truly new money to tackle climate change — without that the international talks on the issue will continue to fail.

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