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Luxembourg, 17 December 2013

“EU must step up coordination on global climate finance”, say EU Auditors

Climate change could push millions of people in developing countries back into poverty. Together the EU and its Member States are the largest source of climate finance to developing countries. In a report published today, the European Court of Auditors found that, although climate-related aid has been managed well by the European Commission, cooperation between the Commission and Member States is inadequate. “For the EU to maximize its impact, the Commission and Member States must work closer together”, said Gijs de Vries, the ECA Member responsible for the report. “The Commission has not exercised sufficient leadership and the Member States have not been sufficiently responsive to its initiatives.”

In 2009, developed countries agreed “Fast Start Finance” of USD 30 billion for 2010-2012 and a long term commitment of USD 100 billion per year by 2020. EU Member States and the Commission have not agreed on how to meet their long term commitment and the extent to which the EU has fulfilled the fast start finance pledge is unclear. There is no EU-wide agreement on how to define climate finance and an effective monitoring, reporting and verification system is not yet in place. The EU has agreed on a Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy, but Member States and the Commission do not exchange information on the country allocations of climate finance.

World-wide, dozens of climate finance funds have been created. This proliferation poses significant coordination, ownership and accountability challenges. Member States have been reluctant to merge or close down their national funds. The Commission launched an additional initiative, the Global Climate Change Alliance. Member States endorsed this initiative but subsequently proved reluctant to support it. This inconsistency contributed to a significant gap between the Global Climate Change Alliance’s ambitions and achievements.

The Commission focused its aid programmes on appropriate priorities, but significant further efforts are needed to ensure that the EU’s and Member States’ programmes are complementary and prevent and combat corruption.

Notes to the editors:

European Court of Auditors (ECA) special reports are published throughout the year, presenting the results of selected audits of specific EU budgetary areas or management topics.

This special report (SR 17/2013) is entitled “EU climate finance in the context of external aid”. The ECA examined whether the Commission has managed climate related spending from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF) well.

The EU Commission funds climate finance in the context of external aid from the EU budget and the European Development Funds. Over the 2003-2012 period, the EU committed approximately €4.7 billion in climate finance and €155 million to fund climate-related disaster preparedness. The Member States jointly pledged to contribute another €7 billion to the Fast Start Finance initiative, a programme to help developing countries implement immediate, urgent action to tackle climate change.

Based on its findings, the ECA recommends that the Commission should propose a road map for the scaling-up of climate finance towards the Copenhagen Accord 2020 target, and have an independent evaluation made of the Global Climate Change Alliance. The Commission and the European External Action Service should report on the extent to which the target of spending 20 % of the EU budget and the EDF over 2014 to 2020 on climate related action is implemented in development aid. The Commission and Member States should agree common standards for monitoring, reporting and verification of climate finance for developing countries, and intensify their cooperation to implement the EU Code of Conduct on Division of Labour in the field of climate finance.

The Commission has accepted all recommendations.


Aidas Palubinskas

Press Officer European Court of Auditors

Desk: +352 4398 45410 Mobile: +352 621 552224 Twitter: @EUAuditorsECA

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