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India joins UK, Australia to help poor nations combat climate change

vikas-swarup

Valletta: Joining a select group of countries, India on Sunday said it will provide US $2.5 million for the vulnerable nations in the Commonwealth to help them introduce clean energy and reduce green-house gas emissions.

The announcement was made on the second day of the biennial summit of the Commonwealth whose membership includes powerful countries like Britain, Australia, Canada, Singapore and small island nations such the Maldives, Tonga and Nauru.

“India has announced US $2.5 million for the Commonwealth small states trade finance facility. As you are aware, Commonwealth has 31 small states as its members out of the 53 countries and trade finance is very important to them,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The 24th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here deliberated extensively on combating climate change and a number of nations pledged their financial assistance to vulnerable countries ahead of the UN Climate Change conference in Paris beginning tomorrow.

India has been pushing for the rich nations to deliver “climate justice” for developing countries while insisting that commitment of the rich nations towards small islands and poor countries must go beyond the current level.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj represented India at the summit which was attended by heads of state and government of around 30 countries. A number of countries including Canada, Britain and Australia have pledged nearly US $2.5 billion to help the poor countries fight global warming.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat unveiled a US $1 billion Commonwealth Green Finance Facility to support environmental projects in the poor countries of the bloc. Separately, the UK has committed 21 million pounds for disaster management and 5.5 million pound for the ocean-based economy. Australia has committed US $1 million for a new Commonwealth idea — a Climate Finance Access Hub.
Canada has pledged US $2 billion assistance to help poor countries limiting green-house gas emission.

Earlier, the Commonwealth and the Governments of India, Malta, Mauritius and Sri Lanka announced the new trade financing fund to help boost trade and investment flows in small countries. The voluntary fund is aimed at attracting start-up capital of US $20 million. It will provide member countries facing trade challenges with the finance they need to increase their trade capacity.

“We are acting as facilitators so small traders in small jurisdictions can penetrate new markets. We are very keen to create necessary trade infrastructure for ourselves and other small Commonwealth countries,” said Prime Minister Muscat.

The fund will seek to stimulate lending by major banks to smaller banks in member states and reduce risk. Financial investment will be sought from member countries and other parties that have expressed an interest in participating. The first phase of the fund will run over three years followed by a review.

PTI