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Climate Change

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional (a) personnel and (b) financial resources his Department has allocated to addressing climate change in accordance with the undertaking given in the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 52WS, on the New Strategic Framework. (242202)

In accordance with new Strategic Framework for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I have substantially increased both the resources devoted to addressing climate change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The Climate Change and Energy programme budget in the FCO’s Strategic Programme Fund has been increased from £4.7 million in FY 2007-08 to £10 million for FY 2008-09, £16 million for FY 2009-10 and £21 million for FY 2010-11.

In addition, the number of staff working to deliver climate change and energy objectives has also increased. £0.8 million has been provided to create 19 new positions in London. An extra £5.732 million for diplomatic missions in priority countries has created 32.5 new positions for British diplomats on postings and 73 positions for locally-engaged members of staff.

I have stepped up the frequency of my discussions on climate change with counterparts and will continue to do so, in coordination with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in advance of the critical UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of Parties at Copenhagen in December 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Answer of 26 November 2008, on climate change, (1) whether there will be any change to (a) resources and (b) personnel devoted to the Climate Change and Energy programme in his Department in light of the creation of a Department for Energy and Climate Change; (242238)

(2) where each of the 73 locally-engaged members of staff are based; with which UK mission they work; and what their responsibilities are;

(3) which countries are priorities for his Department’s Climate Change and Energy programme; what the (a) grade and (b) responsibilities are of the 32.5 new positions for British diplomats; and in which countries they are based;

(4) what mechanisms exist for the co-ordination of his Department's Climate Change and Energy programme with the Department for Energy and Climate Change; and if he will make a statement.

As I referred to in the answer I gave on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 2138W, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has substantially increased the level of resources devoted to addressing climate change. We do not intend to alter this approach following the creation of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Addressing climate change continues to be a top priority for the Foreign Office and is a key part of Departmental Strategic Objective (DSO) 7.

The distribution of the new locally-engaged staff and UK-based diplomats to which I referred in my previous answer will be in line with FCO priority countries for HMG’s objectives on climate change. These are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the USA. The newly recruited staff are located in: Caracas, Bogota, Lima, Brasilia, Vancouver, Ottawa, Santiago, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Washington and across the US network, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Beijing and across the China network, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpar, Bangkok, Manila, Tokyo, Seoul, Pretoria, Cape Town, Berlin, Rome and Warsaw. UK-based diplomats have been recruited at grades SMS, D6 and C4. The newly recruited staff have a range of responsibilities which vary depending on the climate change and energy priorities of the mission in which they are based. These priorities are set out in each mission’s business plan.

Members of DECC sit on the FCO’s DSO 7 programme board and the Strategic Programme Fund Board, while the FCO sits on the cross-Whitehall International Climate Change and Energy Board, which is chaired by DECC. The International Strategy and Campaigns Unit (ISCU) was also created in early 2008 to co-ordinate HMG policy on aspects of climate change policy. The UK Government are critically aware of the need to ensure our climate change and energy policies are developed and delivered in a coherent manner.