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FEATURE: Support announced for Least Developed Country voices in global climate talks

6 September, 2011 – Today UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell MP announces the launch of a UK government initiative to support Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to have a better say in international climate talks. The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) will manage this negotiations support fund: the climate window of the Advocacy Fund.

The poorest and most vulnerable low income countries can face significant challenges in engaging in the increasingly numerous climate negotiations. UN climate negotiations are technical and complex.  Their administrations may lack the capacity for crucial preparation; might not be able to access expertise to cover all areas of negotiations in depth; and send much smaller delegations to negotiations than their richer peers.   Yet LDCs, including small island developing states, are the most vulnerable countries to climate change; their populations and fragile economies stand to suffer the most from extreme weather events, sea level rise and other negative climate impacts, simply because they have fewer resources with which to adapt.

The UK Government has established the climate window of the Advocacy Fund to support countries that are constrained by limited personnel, technical and legal capacity. It seeks to enable LDCs and low income countries to engage effectively in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.

“Developing an international climate change framework that serves the needs of the poorest, most vulnerable countries is in everyone’s interest,” said Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive Officer of CDKN. “Not only is it right to enable all countries to represent their interests properly in the UN climate talks, but in this globalised economy, what affects one region or set of countries will affect us all. Any global deal that represents diverse interests will be the stronger for it.”

The DFID Business Plan provides for £10 million over four years ‘to help the very poorest countries take part more effectively in international negotiations.’ The Plan recognises that lack of capacity in LDCs and low income countries and their member institutions risks leading to a climate deal or international framework which does not account for the impacts of climate change on the poorest peoples, or risks overlooking their needs.

This four-year period will cover a critical phase: the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, and negotiations will take place to agree a successor. In 2012, nations gather in Rio de Janeiro for a follow-up Sustainable Development Summit to the seminar 1992 Earth Summit that launched the UNFCCC. Three years later, in 2015, countries reach the end of the period to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The CDKN-managed negotiations support fund will provide the following assistance to LDCs and low income countries:

  • Provide legal and technical support to inform national policy and negotiation positions.
  • Facilitate training and capacity building to support negotiation teams.
  • Support meaningful participation in negotiations and key policy meetings.
  • Improve access to information for negotiators in response to emerging key issues.

The fund will follow these principles:

  • To be demand-led.  It will be for LDCs and low income countries to define what they want to use support for.
  • To prioritise catalytic interventions and proactively offer support where impact can be achieved.
  •  To maximise impact by working with regional groupings, countries with specific portfolios in the negotiations and countries not currently covered by existing capacity support.

For more information, please contact the fund’s manager, Tim Ash Vie, at For general enquiries about CDKN, please contact

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) supports developing country decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development (CCD). We do this by combining research, advisory services and knowledge-sharing in support of locally owned and managed policy processes.

We work in partnership with decision-makers in the public, private and non-governmental sectors nationally, regionally and globally.

CDKN is an alliance of six private and non-governmental organisations operating across Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, with a global office in London, UK. We are: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Overseas Development Institute, LEAD (International and Pakistan), SouthSouthNorth, Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano and INTRAC. Our team includes climate scientists, researchers, economists, consultants and project managers, along with specialists in communication, networking and partnership building. We are demand-led and source the best expertise to respond to developing country requests. In this process, we aim to strengthen capacity and foster long term collaborative relations.

CDKN was established by the UK Government’s Department For International Development in March 2010 for an initial five-year period, and now also receives funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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