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Geneva loses climate fund seat to Korea

Funds will be directed to vulnerable countries afflicted by climate change. Reuters

Geneva’s ambitions of hosting a new United Nations climate fund have been dashed by a decision to house the environmental centre in South Korea.

The decision to base the permanent secretariat of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)  in the Asian state was taken in Seoul on Saturday. The fund plans to gather $100 billion (SFr92 billion) of aid by 2020 to help developing countries  counter the negative consequences of climate change.

The 24-head steering committee, made up of representatives of both industrial and developing nations, will now meet in the Korean city of Songdo.

Geneva had hoped to add another illustrious jewel to its list of UN departments and environmental agencies, but was facing stiff competition – not only from Korea, but also Germany, Mexico, Poland and Namibia.

The Swiss city has already built up an impressive array of environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the secretariat of the Global Framework of Climate Services, the secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Birth of an idea

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s non-profit environmental group R20 was the latest addition to International Geneva’s burgeoning green hub this year.

Swiss Environment Minister Doris Leuthard had backed Switzerland to host the GCF at the first meeting of its steering committee in Geneva in August.

The establishment of the fund was agreed at the end of 2011 during the 194-nation climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

The decision to base the GCF in Korea needs to be ratified by the UN climate conference in Doha at the end of the year, but this is considered to be a formality.


World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Earth Observation Initiative, the secretariat of the Global Framework for Climate Services, Environment Management Group, regional office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the secretariats of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent, Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

WWF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also have their headquarters in nearby Gland.

Other organisations active in the financing of climate measures: the World Bank and the UN Development Programme.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR