Italy will provide 100 million euros ($108.91 million) to a new fund to help poor countries cope with "loss and damage" due to climate change, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Friday, adding she would invest 70% of her 4.2-billion euro Climate Fund in Africa.
"We are contributing to the loss and damage fund with 100 million euros to help achieve the goals of this COP28," she told an event at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai.
The Italian leader said world food security was among her foreign policy priorities and Rome wanted to help Africa develop an efficient food production system.
"Ensuring disease-resistant crops resilient to climate change, but also devising ever more modern and innovative agricultural techniques ... That is what we are engaged in," she said.
Italy's Climate Fund is part of a commitment by rich countries to funnel at least $100 billion a year in developing economies through green transition projects under the form of state guarantees, loans and equity investments.
In late 2021, under Meloni's predecessor Mario Draghi, Italy set aside 840 million euros per year between 2022 and 2026 for the programme plus an additional annual endowment of 40 million euros starting from 2027.
State lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is working to finalise a strategic plan based on guidelines approved by a steering committee chaired by Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin.
A government official told Reuters they hoped to discuss the CDP final plan before Christmas, while any financing operation would require the go-ahead of a separate operational committee.
Italy has had a poor climate finance record so far. In 2015, it promised to allocate a total of $4 billion through 2020, corresponding to an average annual amount of around $700 million.
But in the end the resources actually mobilised between 2015 and 2018 period were lower, averaging around $500 million per year, according to a Treasury document.
($1 = 0.9182 euros) (Editing by William Maclean)