* 30 nations pledge funds for Global Environment Facility
* GEF chief: “First tangible” commitment from Copenhagen
* $1.35 billion will go toward tackling climate change (Adds quotes by climate expert, paragraphs 9-11)
WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) - Donor countries on Wednesday pledged a record $4.25 billion over the next four years for the Global Environment Facility, the world’s largest public green fund that helps developing countries tackle climate change.
The commitments by 30 donor countries during a session in Paris on Wednesday is a 52 percent increase in new resources for the facility.
GEF Chief Executive Monique Barbut said the replenishment of funds is the first “tangible confirmation of financial commitments” made during international climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
In Copenhagen, negotiators from industrialized and emerging nations sought to agree on the basic terms of a new global climate agreement in the run-up to the next summit in Cancun, Mexico in December.
Part of the agreement was aimed at providing financing to developing countries to help them adapt to climate changes. Some of those funds will be directed through the GEF into projects implemented by U.N. agencies and development institutions like the World Bank.
Barbut said about $1.35 billion of the new funds committed on Wednesday would be directed at tackling climate change.
The rest will be used to better manage and expand protected and endangered areas, improve the management of trans-boundary water systems, reduce pollutants in land and water, and expanding and protecting the world’s forests.
The new funds are a “testimony to the international donor community’s commitment to the environmental agenda,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, the vice president for concessional finance and global partnerships at the World Bank.
British climate change expert Nicholas Stern, speaking at the International Monetary Fund, called on world leaders to reach a political agreement on climate change at Cancun in order to lay the foundation for an international treaty in 2011.
He said the agreement should set out how $30 billion in climate financing will be provided to developing nations over the next three years to adapt to climate change.
It should also indicate how this initial support will be increased to $100 billion a year by 2020, in particular by introducing new and innovative sources of funding.
The GEF has been replenished four times since its inception in 1991 starting with $2.02 billion in 1994, $2.75 billion in 1998, $2.92 billion in 2002 and $3.13 billion in 2006.
To date, the facility has provided $8.7 billion in grants for more than 2,400 environmental projects in over 165 developing countries and emerging economies.
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