A new £3million fund has been launched to meet an “urgent moral imperative” for Scotland to help people in countries affected by climate change.
First Minister Alex Salmond and former Irish President Mary Robinson announced the creation of the fund at an event in Edinburgh attended by representatives from major NGOs including WWF and Oxfam.
The fund is aimed to bring about “climate justice” where countries who have benefits from high-carbon producing industries, pay to help countries who are seeing the effects in developing nations.
Water projects in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia will benefit from the initial funding by the Scottish Government of one million per year from now until 2015.
The First Minister said there was an urgent moral imperative for the fund: “Collectively there is a huge growing understanding across Scottish society.
“We have to imagine how our lives would be affected right now by climate changes.
“If you were a subsistence farmer who worked to tend crops only to see the crops ruined by erratic rainfall, or imagine that you’re caught up in one of the vast number of disasters where the impact of climate change is quite literally a life or death situation.
“In Scotland, we talk about the weather and its erratic nature in Scotland, but it’s not a life or death experience, that is the reality for millions of people who are affected by climate change.”
Mary Robinson, who is also a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and set up a foundation in her own name for climate justice, praised the action in Scotland already taken to tackle the growing problem – which has included the first ever parliamentary debate on climate justice.
She said: “Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund acknowledges that those who contributed least to the causes of climate change are bearing the brunt of its impacts. To address this injustice, Scotland is delivering on commitments to build resilience of the world’s poorest communities.”
A video featuring backers of the fund including WWF Scotland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and both the Church of Scotland and Catholic Church in Scotland has also been released by the government.