China would facilitate south-south cooperation on climate change as third party, said former minister Xie Zhenhua


Earth Journalism Network, Paris



After pledged US$3.1 billion to South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change, China said it would serve as third party facilitating developing countries to adapt climate change.


China is moving towards launching joint cooperation projects with multilateral agencies and financial institutes, aiming to build capacity for developing countries on climate change as third party, said former minister Xie Zhenhua in the South-South Cooperation Forum during COP21 in Paris.

Last year at the 2014 Climate Summit, China’s vice-premier Zhang Gaoli announced to establish a special fund to support south-south cooperation on climate change. The fund, was later confirmed to be named as “South-South Cooperation Fund (SSCF)” in a similar South-South Cooperation Forum held in Lima during COP20.

A year has past since the announcement, yet no further details have been disclosed by Chinese government except its consistent promise on scaling up the fund. In September 2015, President Xi Jinping pledged CNY20bn(US$3.1bn) to finance “South-South Cooperation Fund”. Two months later in the opening of COP21, Xi said China would launch 10 low-carbon pilots, 100 mitigation and adaptation projects and 1000 capacity building opportunities for developing countries in the coming year.

In a following interview, Xie, who is now special representative for Climate Change of China, said the fund is possible to be lead by National Development and Reform Council (NDRC) with broad cooperation across ministries.

“All south-south cooperation projects on climate change will be take into the fund once it’s officially launched.” He also said the fund will primary to help build capacity of developing countries in adapting climate change.

It is relatively a small amount of money compared to large infrastructure investments in southern countries, he added.

The establishment of the US$3.1bn “South-South Cooperation Fund” marks China’s independent contribution on global climate finance. China has made it clear that it would not pledge any money into Green Climate Fund(GCF) despite developing countries like Vietnam also promise to fund GCF.

“SSCF can be seen as a complement of GCF. While GCF represents the obligation of developed countries on helping developing countries to adapt climate change, SSCF shows China’s expanding obligations on south south cooperation in consistent with its own national conditions and stage of development”, said Xie.

“For decades, North-South cooperation was seen as essential in helping developing countries. Today, it is South-South cooperation that is on the rise, with interregional trade expected to overtake that in the North”, said UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw.

Financing has been a crucial issue in climate negotiation. Back in Copenhagen, developed countries have agreed to transfer US$100bn by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to climate change. With five years ahead, the Green Climate Fund(GCF) only reached approximately 10% of the total target.

Still, US$100bn is not enough to fund climate adaptation for developing countries around the world. According to UNEP’s earlier assessment on adaptation financial gap in Africa, the continent alone would face up to US$50 billion per year by 2050 if we succeed to achieve the 2°C target.

On December 8, Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India, said in a joint press conference with BASICs countries, that India would like to work with China on south south cooperation as voluntary financial support among developing countries.

Professor Anand Partwardhan from University of Maryland said India is very unlikely to invest in GCF, but if SSCF become more broad-based, there is chance that India might put money in that as well.