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UN unblocks climate finance to poor countries as France unveils 'dress rehearsal'

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France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is seen while school children participate at the inauguration of the World People's Conference on Climate Change, in Bolivia, October 10, 2015 REUTERS/David Mercado

The UN's Green Climate Fund approved its first projects to help developing nations on Friday, three weeks before a crucial word summit to reach a climate rescue pact. On the same day, France's Foreign minister Laurent Fabius unveiled a 3-day 'dress rehearsal' from Sunday to Tuesday involving more than sixty ministers to prepare them for the looming talks.


The 'pre-COP' conference will be attended by representatives from all regions of the world and will be broken down into four themes: the ambitions of the climate conference, acknowledgement of each country's different responsibilities and capacities, the actions needed, and climate financing to poor countries beyond 2020.

On this last aspect--which has proven to be a divisive issue--the UN's Green Climate Fund announced on Friday that it had approved $168 million (155 million euros) for eight projects in countries including Peru, Malawi, Senegal, Bangladesh, Fiji and the Maldives.

The money is to help them make the leap from cheap and abundant fossil fuels to renewable energy against the effects of climate change, such as superstorms, drought, floods and rising sea-levels.

"With climate finance being a critical element of global climate talks, the approval of the first project proposals marks a major trust-building measure between developing and developed countries," the fund said on Friday.

Forging a global pact to reduce carbon emmissions will not be achieved unless developing countries are given the means to adopt energy-efficient practices, President François Hollande has said in recent weeks.

Six years after the failure of climate talks at Copenhagen, the Paris Climate conference is seen as a last-ditch attempt for the world to avoid a collision course with nature by bringing global temperatures to below 2C.

But, the UN says the world is only half way to reaching its emissions target with current pledges. This perhaps explains why French leaders are taking no chances to ensure that COP 21 is a success.

During the forthcoming pre-rehearsal, stakeholders will be grilled on thirty questions on how they plan to reduce their carbon emissions.

"The aim is not to renegotiate the text that was signed during the last session of formal negotiations," French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius said. "The aim is to come up with an agreement on the widest range of options possible," he concluded.