A discussion on Wednesday at the United Nations climate change summit (COP-17) on the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations adapt to, and mitigate against, climate change was "one of the most important" at the conference, said Tomasz Chruszczow, Europe's lead negotiator.

COP-17 has brought together almost 200 nations for two weeks in Durban in an attempt to secure future commitments to reduce global warming.

The funds are needed to help the developing world - in particular small island states and least developed countries - ensure their development follows a more environmentally secure path than that of the industrialised nations in the past century.

The conference was to address the $100bn-a-year fund, expected to start paying out in 2020, on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Chruszczow said Europe believed it was possible for the Green Climate Fund's draft governing document to be agreed to "as it stands".

"It would be counterproductive to undertake further technical discussions (on the fund's governance facilities)," he said. "It's a compromise, but a compromise is inevitable."

Ousman Jarju of Gambia, president of the least developed countries group, said resuming discussions on the technical aspects of the fund would be "opening Pandora's Box", and the fund should be signed off at COP-17.

APOLOGY

Meanwhile, a Canadian youth movement has apologised for its government's actions.

Canada's Environment Minister, Peter Kent, on Monday refused to confirm or deny rumours that the country had decided to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding treaty on climate change thus far.

According to reports, the country will formally pull out of the treaty by December 23.

Canadian Youth delegation leader Cameron Fenton on Wednesday said: "We want to apologise in advance for our government and our negotiators who in the coming weeks will undoubtably stand in the way of progress, blocking any international agreement to combat climate change."

He said the Canadian government was putting polluters ahead of people around the globe.

Mr Fenton also said the Canadian economy was based on resource extraction, citing Mr Kent's declaration to defend the country's controversial view on tar sand processing as a viable energy source.

With JOCELYN NEWMARCH