PHNOM PENH, Nov. 29 — Over 300 campaigners gathered on Monday in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, to call on world leaders to put money on the table, as international climate talks opened today in Cancun, Mexico.
Climate finance is a priority for developing countries in the global negotiations because it is vital to their capacity to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate and embark on a low-carbon development pathway.
"In Cancun, rich countries must be honest about this money," said Boonny Tep, representative of the National Climate Change Network, a group of 52 civil societies that organized the event.
"They must not massage numbers in order to wriggle out of their commitments. They must deliver their past pledges and commit new and additional money," he said.
At Copenhagen last year, there was limited progress made on the scale of long-term finance.
Rich country governments pledged to deliver US$ 30 billion by 2012 to help developing countries adapt to climate change and curb their emissions. But the pace of delivering the money is very slow.
Leaked EU documents, for example, show that Europe will in fact fail to meet its overall pledges by 200 million euro in 2010 and 357 million euro over the whole period 2010-2012.
As world leaders are negotiating a global deal, climate change is already devastating people's lives, wiping out crops and making it harder for the poorest people, especially women, to provide food for their families.
Phallin Ry, a farmer from central Cambodia, who joined hundreds of campaigners in the event, said she grows rice and vegetables just to feed her families.
Last year her rice, the most important food crop, was completely devastated by floods brought by a Typhoon she had never experienced.
"After Typhoon Ketsana destroyed my crops last year, I started growing potatoes" she said, adding that she grew them four times, but they kept dying. The soil was so dry after the big flood and the temperature was oddly hot." (PNA/Xinhua) vcs/utb