$1B pledged to green climate fund

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LEGAZPI CITY: The Norwegian government has pledged $1 billion for the country’s Green Climate Fund (GCF).

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Albay Governor Joey Salceda, GCF chairman for developing countries, said the $1 billion-endowment is part of a $100 billion package to help vulnerable countries like the Philippines adapt to the changing climate.

“Norway already pledged $1 billion. My target is $15 billion this year, so $14 billion to go,” said Salceda, the first Asian to chair the prestigious body that was established during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2011.

Salceda, who also served as the Regional Development Council chairman in Bicol, said the country had to go through a lot before getting the $1 billion commitment.

“Despite much skepticism, we were able to finish the eight prerequisites [to get the amount]. So now, we can start the 1st Initial Resource Mobilization with the Contributors’ Meeting in Oslo, Norway,” he said.

Salceda explained that the 24-member GCF board oversees the operation of the fund, which is expected to reach $ 100 billion by 2020. Projects are approved if they conform to established principles, criteria, modalities, policies, and programs.

The GCF chairman said he would ensure that funds would be available this year to make positive changes in vulnerable communities affected by climate change.

Salceda said his goal is to reduce carbon emissions, which are largely responsible for climate change.

Earlier, Margareta Wahlstrom, head of the United Nations (UN) Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and a special representative of the UN Secretary-General, said that in nine out of 10 most significant disasters in the world last year due to climate change, a large number of fatalities were from the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Japan, and China.

She said 14,500 lives were lost in tropical cyclones, floods, heat waves, cold waves, and earthquakes.

During her visit to Legazpi City over a year ago, Wahlstrom lauded officials for their disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies. She cited Albay province as a model of the best DRR measures in the country.

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