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Mandatory targets needed to force rich countries to pay for adaptation

May 10, 2010

Oxfam International is calling for binding commitments on funding for climate change adaptation in poor countries to be included in the Bali Roadmap, with each country’s share based on its responsibility for causing climate change and its capacity to assist.

The call came as the international agency unveiled the Graph of Climate Injustice, which plots the per capita carbon emissions in the richest and poorest countries against their respective incomes, and clearly shows that responsibility for emissions and ability to pay lies firmly with the richest countries.

“The great injustice is that those countries that are not really responsible for causing climate change are first and worst hit, and are least equipped to deal with its impacts. Just as rich countries are deliberating binding targets to cut their carbon emissions, they should commit to binding targets to provide the finance that poor countries urgently need to adapt to climate change,” said Oxfam spokeswoman Kate Raworth.

Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada, said: “Canada and other high-polluting wealthy countries owe it to the world’s poorest to commit to compensatory finance so that they can cope with the unavoidable climate impacts they now face. It is poor women who will pay the price if Canada fails to deliver.”

The Least Developed Countries (LDC) Fund was set up by the UN to meet the most urgent and immediate adaptation priorities of the world’s 49 poorest countries, which by Oxfam’s calculation will cost up to $2 billion. To date, rich countries have delivered just $67 million – less than what Americans spend on suntan lotion in one month. “$67 million is an insult, and a clear indication that voluntary contributions do not deliver,” Raworth said.

“Canada has paid up its pledge to the LDC Fund,” Fox said, “but that amounted to a miserly $10 million. For all developing countries taken together, Oxfam estimates that adapting to climate change is likely to cost at least $50 billion each year.”

For example, Tuvalu needs $2 million to plant trees to reduce erosion by rising seas, and Uganda needs $6.5 million to strengthen its meteorological system because farmers will no longer have to rely solely on traditional knowledge to predict droughts and floods.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Karen Palmer at or 613-240-3047


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