The announcement today of the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund has been welcomed by international development and environmental organisations in Scotland. The fund was launched by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, alongside former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, a member of the global Caritas Internationalis network of Catholic development agencies, is among the groups welcoming the news.

The new fund to help people living in some of the world’s poorest countries affected by the changing climate, such as more frequent and severe droughts and floods, has cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament.

The Climate Justice Fund will be a good example to bring to the Rio+20 summit in June of how the rich world can face up to its historic responsibility for climate change and its substantial negative impact on many of the world’s poorest people.

Philippa Bonella, Head of Communications and Education at SCIAF, said, “International aid agencies like SCIAF are already working with poor communities devastated by the onset of climate change.

“Dealing with climate change is fundamentally a matter of justice. Thousands of SCIAF supporters have called for a climate fund, and we’re delighted that the Scottish Government is responding with today’s announcement.

“The Climate Justice Fund recognises our historic responsibility for creating climate change and our moral responsibility to deal with the consequences. It is an example we hope countries around the world will folllow.”

Climate adaptation funding means that developed countries should provide funds to developing countries to support increased ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, and is a principle enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It has been agreed within the Convention to reflect the fact that developed countries have had a greater role historically in causing climate change.

The Scottish fund is a good start, but its starting point at £1m will have to be increased in the coming years to be able to address the scale of the problem. It sets an important example as it is funding which is additional to Scotland’s overseas aid budget.

SCIAF is also a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coaltion, which brings together over 60 campaigning groups calling for action to tackle climate change.