Australia to cut 80% of UNEP funding

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 2, 2014
Adjust font size:

The Australian federal government will slash at least 80 percent of its funding for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), disappointing global leaders ahead of the Lima climate change conference this month.

Australia announced on Tuesday morning that it would cut 3.4 million U.S. dollars from its UNEP funding over the next four years.

That is in addition to the country's stern opposition to the UN- led Green Climate Fund, which dominated discussions at a G20 meeting in Brisbane last month.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was strongly urged by world leaders, such as U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to commit to the fund, but he refused to do so.

Now, Australia's abandonment of UNEP funding has angered environment officials further in the mid of a 12-day Climate Change Conference in Peru, which began on Monday.

According to UNEP's Voluntary Indicative Scale of Assessments, Australia was due to provide 1.8 million U.S. dollars to the program later this month. However, the country had initially implied they would only donate 1 million U.S. dollars.

Now, in a move that has stunned environment officials, Australia will only contribute 170,000 U.S. dollars a decrease of 80 percent of its initial commitment.

"As an executive director, you have to be disappointed because clearly, the contribution of member states is what enables UNEP to fulfill its mandate and be of service to the global community," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner told the ABC on Tuesday.

"Therefore the value proposition with joining forces with a relatively small contribution and leveraging virtually 500 times as much financing as others seems to be something that I hope Australia will consider once again as a very good investment and one that has benefited Australia and also the Pacific region."

However, the Australian government has indicated budget constraints were the cause of such a low donation to UNEP funding.

A report released on Monday by Deloitte Access Economics revealed Australia's 2014-15 budget was set to blowout by 29.4 billion U.S. dollars, 4.1 billion U.S. dollars more than was originally anticipated.

Therefore Environment Minister Greg Hunt believed cuts to UNEP funding were necessary amid uncertainty regarding the future of the budget.

"I would imagine that most Australians would see putting 12 million Australian dollars (10.2 million U.S. dollars) into coral reef protection within our region and combating illegal logging of the great rain forests of the Asia-Pacific as a pretty good investment compared with 4 million Australian dollars (3.4 million U.S. dollars) for bureaucratic support within the UN system," Hunt said on Tuesday.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from