Last week Angelie Torne, a UNICEF UK Children's Champion and chair of our Oxford Fundraising Group, visited Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss climate change and its effect on children. Here's her report.
I’m pleased to say I had a positive meeting with the Prime Minister. He was genuinely interested and very knowledgeable on the subject of climate change. Taking into consideration his limited time, I prepared a brief summary of the issues I wanted us to discuss with him, and I'm delighted to say that he agreed to the majority of points we discussed.
1. A statement on climate finance
David Cameron has agreed to make a strong statement in support of the climate finance agenda before November's UN climate change conference meeting in Doha , which is good news for the campaign.
2. Acknowledgement of the impact of climate change on children
We discussed how climate change in particular has a devastating impact on children, and he acknowledged our argument. The Prime Minister also agreed that it is important to always consider the well being of children when discussing budget and policy changes by the UK Government, taking into account the impacts of these decisions on children.
3. Creating a separate climate change aid fund of 0.5% on top of the existing 0.7% commitment
We discussed the possibility of the government committing to new money for the Green Climate Fund. UNICEF UK would like the government to commit to a further 0.5% of national income for the new Green Climate Fund, over and above the existing aid budget commitment of 0.7%.
Mr Cameron said that whilst he supports the Green Climate Fund, the government has been harshly criticised for increasing aid spending, whilst cutting public spending at home to reduce the deficit. He therefore felt that, though he was sympathetic to UNICEF UK’s argument, the electorate would not support further spending on international issues.
He noted that the UK is currently the most generous G8 country in aid spending. He promised to do his best in persuading other G8 countries to follow the UK’s lead and take concrete steps towards implementing 0.7% of their income towards the international aid budget which is more encouraging news. He was proud of the stand his government had taken on aid in tough economic times and would become the first G20 country to meet the 0.7% aid commitment by 2013.
4. Agreement to the exploration of innovative financing models for new money
The Prime Minister agreed that the government should explore new innovative financing models to help increase the aid budget. He declined to support a tax on shipping fuel or the Robin Hood tax as he feared the impact on the UK economy. As UNICEF UK points out, the shipping tax fuel scheme would have to be international.
What was exciting was that although he refused to support the Robin Hood Tax or one on shipping fuels at this point, he promised to discuss finding new ways to fund climate change projects with his policy advising team and propose some alternative innovative financing models that I can suggest to UNICEF.
The Prime Minister is pleased that UNICEF UK has taken a great leadership role in campaigning for action to halt the adverse affects climate change has on the world’s children; he supports the cause and will do his utmost to convince other world leaders to invest on children. I look forward to sharing his suggestions with UNICEF on alternative new financing model for new money to be made available for the Green Climate Fund in the next coming weeks.