South Korea picked as HQ of new U.N. Green Climate Fund

OSLO Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:10am EDT

OSLO (Reuters) - A new U.N. fund meant to manage billions of dollars to help developing nations combat climate change will be based in South Korea, leaders of the fund agreed on Saturday.

The Green Climate Fund is to be sited in Songdo, Incheon City, South Korea, the board of the fund said. Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland and Switzerland had also sought to be the headquarters.

Developed nations agreed in 2009 to raise climate aid, now about $10 billion a year, to an annual $100 billion from 2020 to help developing countries curb greenhouse gas emissions and cope with floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

So far, there has been no discussion by the fund about how to raise $100 billion, from public and private sources. The fund is now empty and the economies of many developed nations are struggling.

The decision will be put to environment ministers for approval at a meeting in Doha, Qatar, from November 26-December 7.

International charity Oxfam welcomed the decision to site the fund in South Korea and urged action to fill it.

"South Korea must work to get all developed countries to make immediate pledges to the Green Climate Fund at Doha," Oxfam climate change program manager David Waskow said.

"The millions of poor people who need help coping with extreme weather events and destroyed harvests cannot afford for another U.N. Climate Conference later this year to close with the question of funding for adaptation still unresolved," he said.

South Korea has been favored partly as a bridge between rich and poor nations, diplomatic sources said.

Its strong economic growth meant it joined the OECD, the club of rich nations, in 1996. Under definitions laid down by the 1992 U.N. climate convention, however, it is still among developing nations.

(Reporting by Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent; Editing by Alison Williams)

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