Ending global poverty and achieving the proposed sustainable development goals will require mobilizing financial resources to help countries address climate change, the UN Third Conference on Financing for Development heard today.
“Let us be clear. Climate change is one of the major unique threats to sustainable development achievements in developing countries. If not responded to, this could take us back decades,” said Héla Cheikhrouhou, the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) during an event at the Conference, which is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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The 17 proposed sustainable development goals address a wide range of issues including improving access to water and sanitation, renewable energy and protecting oceans and biodiversity – all issues tightly linked to climate change.
“Climate finance will be contributing to all of the proposed sustainable development goals,” she said, citing water management, sustainable land use, low carbon transport and forest protection projects as examples of climate action initiatives that have positive effects on sustainable development overall.
Ms. Cheikhrouhou, said an estimated $400 billion dollars a year will be needed by developing countries to shift to low emissions and become climate resilient. The Fund, designed to direct funding to the developing countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, aims to help countries ramp up their contributions to developing countries to $100 billion per year by 2020.
“The Green Climate Fund is very much a strategic building block in the architecture for financing sustainable development,” said Isabella Lövin, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation. “If we don’t get this block right, everything else risks crumbling.”
“Let’s be frank, all the 17 goals that we hope to adopt in New York in September will be mostly unattainable in a world ravaged by climate change.”
Over the last 12 months, the Fund has received $10 billion in pledges from 35 countries. Japan is the largest contributor and Sweden is the largest contributor per capita.
With the current pledges, the Fund will be able to provide $2.5 billion per year over the next four years to developing countries. Half of this amount will be dedicated to mitigation measures, and the other half to adaptation measures.
According to the latest Climate Economic Report, over the next 15 years, the world will invest $90 trillion in rural and urban infrastructure. Ms. Lövin said that investing in climate action would not require economic sacrifices, and it would be beneficial for countries to make low carbon investments instead of going with business as usual.
Japanese Ambassador Atsuyuki Oike, who was also at the event, noted that the Fund provides many options to facilitate green investments that are profitable for countries, helping to address poverty and climate change simultaneously.
“There are many ways in which the private sector can get involved,” he said, emphasizing that a combination of public and private financing is key to achieve investment targets.