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Cheers! Trump Effect: Green Climate Fund misses 2016 target as U.S. donation in doubt

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Board celebrates approval of projects worth $1.3bn at meeting in Samoa, but falls short of $2.5bn goal and delays key policy decisions

Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam. Pacific islands are increasingly vulnerable to tropical storms in a warming world (Pic: UNDP/Silke von Brockhausen)

Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam. Pacific islands are increasingly vulnerable to tropical storms in a warming world (Pic: UNDP/Silke von Brockhausen)

By Megan Darby

The Green Climate Fund board approved eight funding proposals worth US$315 million as a meeting in Samoa concluded on Friday.

It brings the total allocated by the UN’s flagship climate finance initiative in 2016 to $1.3 billion, far short of a $2.5bn aspirational goal.

Looming over the fund is a threat by US president-elect Donald Trump to axe an outstanding pledge that accounts for nearly a quarter of the $10bn starting capital.

Green Climate Fund Board meeting in Samoa approved US$315m in new activities – but little talk about the -$2bn elephant in the room.

Co-chairs of the board hailed the meeting a success. “This year has demonstrated that the fund is rapidly gathering pace with regard to scaling up climate finance,” said Zaheer Fakir, of South Africa.

“I am proud of the progress we have made over the past 12 months in improving fund performance and growing our portfolio of investments.”

His Australian colleague Ewan McDonald highlighted the $98m for Pacific island states, at the board’s first ever meeting in the region.

Host nation Samoa got $57.7m for flood management in the Vaisigano River catchment; cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu got $23m for information services and the Cook Islands got the first $17m tranche of a renewable energy investment programme.

“I have high hopes that 2017 will be the year of climate finance for the Pacific,” said McDonald.

Comment: Dear Green Climate Fund board, Samoa needs you to deliver

Civil society observers were less impressed, pointing to policy decisions that had been kicked down the road.

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