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COP23: Unblocking investment into climate resilience


The roundtable “Unblocking investment in climate resilience”, held on Monday, November 13 at the UN Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn, brought together 40 CEOs, Ministers and Heads of organizations to examine the major barriers and opportunities for increasing the volume of investment into climate resilience in developing countries.

Kare Chawicha Debessa, State Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Ethiopia, welcome the speakers emphasizing that Governments alone cannot meet the needs of a climate resilient future. “The need of unlocking key investments to increase both public and private finance is crucial,” he stated.

Inia B. Seruiratu, Minister of Agriculture of Fiji, reminded that resilience is in the Climate Change Action Agenda for the first time at COP under Fiji Presidency. “Mitigation is good for all of us because more mitigation now means less adaptation in the future, but for survival we need to be resilient particularly in the vulnerable countries.”


How public finance can address barriers to investments into climate resilience


Mary Robinson, President of Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, challenged the session speakers saying that investment in resilience lays behind in investment in mitigation and this is the frustration of the countries for which adaptation is the priority.


Amadou Hott, Vice-President for Power, Energy and Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, agreed on the huge need for adaptation funding. “Adaptation needs in Africa are currently estimated at US $5-$7 billion per year, rising to US $50 billion by 2030,” he stated.


“African Governments and public-sector donors to not have the capital to meet the needs for adaptation finance and therefore we must mobilize private sector investors,” he said. “This cannot be done if there is no clear revenue stream associated with adaptation benefits. To overcome this barrier, we propose that public sector funds are used to incentivize private sector investors to invest in technologies which deliver adaptation and resilience benefits.”


To meet this need, the Bank has proposed the creation of the Adaptation Benefit Mechanism which is now being negotiated under Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement.


Laura Tuck, Vice-President, Sustainable Development, at the World Bank, said, “Achieving economic development and the eradication of poverty can’t be achieved if we don’t build climate resilience. This is why the World Bank is putting resilience, and the management of climate risks, at the heart of its investments.”

She gave an example of a success story, mentioning that the Government of Zambia recognized the need of investing in resilience when it went to Climate Investment Funds (CIF), in particular to the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). The country received a grant in 2010 from the CIF to develop a resilient investment plan with an impressive consultative process that brought together local and national authorities and different actors, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank. One of the first activities was to create a High Level Ministerial Climate Change Secretariat and now they want to scale up their PPCR activities and start working with the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Naoko Ishii, CEO of Global Environment Facility (GEF), announced GEF support for a first of its kind climate resilience investment fund at the UN Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn.  The fund will boost adaptation efforts in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries. 


Gareth Phillips, Chief Climate and Green Growth Officer at the African Development Bank, added: “There is an opportunity for a very good use of public funds to support the preparation of projects. Whilst the CIF described by Laura Tuck have not been re-capitalized, there are other small funds which offer financial support to prepare projects. These funds need more finance.”


The roundtable was organised by FAO, Global Resilience Partnership, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UN Environment and the World Bank, as partners of the UN Climate Resilience Initiative: Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape (A2R). The discussion, moderated by Edward Cameron, Senior Advisor to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.

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