One of the main achievements of the Durban climate change conference was establishing the Green Climate Fund. This is expected to channel a fair amount of the $US100 billion a year in climate finance that wealthy countries have promised to mobilise by 2020.
Critics are concerned that, for now, the Fund is simply an "empty shell." But there are several reasons why we should see the Durban outcome on finance as a significant positive step, without underestimating the challenges that lie ahead.
For a start, it was not a foregone conclusion that agreement on the Fund’s structure would be reached at Durban. A Transitional Committee to design the Fund in the lead-up to the conference ended with Saudi Arabia and the United States blocking consensus. This was read as a tactic for securing a bargaining chip for Durban.
But it also highlighted that several points on which most parties had already made significant compromises were yet to be put to rest. Getting agreement on issues such as the oversight and day-to-day administration of the Fund meant that little time was left to address how longer-term funding could be raised.