24 November 2014 –Pledges from the governments of 22 countries to the Green Climate Fund reached nearly $9.6 billion last week.

Twenty-one of the pledges – totalling $9.3 billion – came on Thursday during the first pledging conference in Berlin; the 22nd pledge of CAD $300 million came from Canada hours later, boosting the total to nearly US $9.6 billion.

Four developing countries were among the contributors to the fund, which is intended to help poor nations adapt to climate change.

“These developments demonstrate that Governments increasingly understand both the benefits derived from climate action and the growing risks of delay,” the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

The pledges also provide much needed public finance, which is key to unlocking investments from private sources at a much larger scale, he said,

Mr. Ban “urges all developed countries that have not yet pledged to the GCF to do so by COP 20 in Lima,” he said, referring to the meeting scheduled to begin December 1 in Peru to draw up a draft agreement on climate change to be passed in December 2015 in Paris. “He also encourages those developing countries that are in a position to do so to consider making voluntary contributions to the Fund.”

Canada’s Minister of the Environment, Leona Aglukkaq, said that the pledge “demonstrates Canada’s commitment to establish a fair, effective international agreement in Paris next year that includes binding obligations on all major emitters.”

The Executive Director of the Fund, Hela Cheikhrouhou, lauded as timely the contribution, which came days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters he was prepared to contribute. “It promptly implements Prime Minister Harper’s announcement of his country’s intention to contribute, and demonstrates that an increasing number of countries are coming forward,” she said.

The money is intended to unlock finance flows from the private sector, whose participation is considered essential in helping developing countries make the transition to a low‐emission, climate‐resilient future.

“The Green Climate Fund is the epicentre that determines the direction of both public and private investment over the next decades,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The money “creates a positive atmosphere for the start of successful negotiations” on climate change that begin 1 December in Lima, said Manuel Pulgar‐Vidal, Minister of the Environment of Peru. “We are fully confident on GCF’s ability to start disbursing funds next year and encourage more countries to come forward with contributions and for contributing countries to further raise their ambition.”

The GCF Board is charged with translating the pledges into financing decisions for climate projects and programmes in developing countries.

The funds are to be used to help developing countries shift to more climate-resilient development pathways, and to cut their emissions.