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UN hails first success of ‘climate matchmaking’ service

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A UN dating service for countries tackling climate change has generated its first couple – a partnership between Austria and Georgia on sustainable forests.

Austria has agreed to provide almost US$ 2million to Georgia, which will help the country to restore the forests in its Borjomi-Bakuriani region. This 45,000 hectare area has the potential to store significant volumes of CO2, and will make a significant contribute to Georgia’s efforts to tackle climate change.

The pairing is the first of its kind since the UN’s climate body launched the service in October last year. Developing countries can submit their plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions to this registry, which developed countries are then able to fund.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres congratulated Austria and Georgia on debuting the tool.

“This first success highlights the enormous potential of the new registry as a transparent, efficient clearing house that matches financial, technology and capacity-building support from the developed world to the needs developing nations have defined themselves to act on climate change,” she said.

“It is a clear invitation to other countries and organizations to continue to populate the registry and boost the international cooperation between developed and developing countries in reducing and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”

There are currently around 40 projects in the registry waiting for international support. These range from plans for biomass boilers in Serbia to a 100% renewable energy target in the Cook Islands.

Many developing countries see an increase in financial support as key to their ability to implement ambitious climate targets.

The slow delivery of funds to date has impacted attempts to negotiate a new UN climate change treaty, as it has diminished levels of trust between developed and developing countries, and made poor nations reluctant to put forward plans that they do not have the financial capacity to deliver.

The Green Climate Fund is one financial body that will be key to supporting national mitigation projects. After a slow start, a meeting this month in South Korea saw this fund agree on the final elements needed to become operational, meaning that it could start to receive donations as soon as 2015.

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