OECD ministers give verbal push for help on climate impact
PARIS, April 4, 2006 (AFP) -
Environment and development ministers from the OECD club of rich countries agreed here on Tuesday to give greater priority to helping poorer countries cope with the impact of looming climate change.
Climate change adaption will be "integrated" in the spending and planning of development aid, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a statement.
The 30-nation organisation, using language previously agreed in the Group of Eight (G8) and other fora, declared climate change to be "a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe.
"(...) Adaptation to climate change and its adverse effects is of high priority for all countries," said the statement, issued after the first joint meeting of OECD development and environment ministers since 1991.
"Developing countries, especially the least developed countries and small island developing states, are especially vulnerable."
Scientists say that poor tropical countries will bear the brunt of man-made climate change.
Water stress and flooding are already major problems for many of these states. Global warming may well magnify their plight because of its likely effect on rainfall patterns and some experts suggest the impact is already visible. Low-lying regions and small island states are considered at risk of being flooded by rising seas.
In another statement, the OECD ministers admitted there had been only "weak" progress towards realising UN goals of sustainable development -- of incorporating sound environmental practices into the search for growth.
They promised to beef up human resources in countries that receive development aid and to set down "best practice" guidelines for incorporating sustainable-development criteria in their spending policies.
Neither statement made any specific pledge on financial help.
Ministers will receive a progress report on the sustainable development goals by 2009 at the latest.