Governments pick U.N. green fund delegates

OSLO Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:49am EDT

The sun sets beyond solar panels at a power plant in Amareleja, southern Portugal, April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

The sun sets beyond solar panels at a power plant in Amareleja, southern Portugal, April 23, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

OSLO (Reuters) - Governments have agreed on a list of 40 delegates to design a "Green Climate Fund" to channel billions of dollars to poor nations, the United Nations said on Friday, ending disputes that delayed the first talks by a month.

Asian and Latin American groups had been unable to agree who should attend the first meeting, originally due in March and put back until April 28-29 in Mexico City, because of internal rivalries. Other regional groups picked members on time.

Governments "have agreed the selection of the 40 members who will be entrusted with the task of designing the Green Climate Fund," the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said in a statement.

Winning a delegate post may help nations secure early influence over climate finance. Rich nations have promised aid rising to $100 billion a year from 2020 for measures ranging from solar power to researching drought-resistant crops.

Among developing nations from the Asian group, China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines and Singapore secured delegates.

The 40 delegates will have to design the fund, including who controls the rising cash flow -- suggestions include equal votes for donors and recipients or a majority for developing nations.

The fund was part of a package of measures agreed at annual U.N. talks among environment ministers in Cancun, Mexico, in December that helped get U.N. negotiations back on track after a 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen failed to agree a treaty.

CANCUN AGREEMENTS

The Cancun agreements also included a goal of limiting any rise in average temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius more than in pre-industrial times and new measures to protect tropical forests that soak up carbon dioxide as they grow.

"The high level of interest among governments in contributing to the design process is a demonstration of the great interest among parties in the Green Climate Fund," U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said in a statement.

"Parties have put forward experienced and respected individuals from the fields of finance and climate change," she said.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa wrote in February to the Asian and Latin American groups, according to a letter obtained by Reuters, that it was of the "utmost importance" that talks should begin in March, as agreed in Cancun.

But leaders of the Asian and Latin American groups said it was impossible to narrow down the lists on time. In Asia, for instance, there were more than two applicants for each seat.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

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