Marrakech, Morocco

16 November 2016

Secretary-General's message to High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance - Scaling-up Adaptation Finance to Address the Challenges of Climate and Development

[Delivered by Robert C. Orr, Under-Secretary-General, and Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Climate Change]

Finance and investment hold the key to achieving low-emissions and resilient societies. 
The unsustainable level of global greenhouse gas emissions we are now experiencing resulted from past investment patterns.
 There are cleaner alternatives.  
One of the Paris Agreement’s core objectives is to make all finance flows consistent with a pathway to low-emissions climate-resilient development. 
There has been progress.
Last year, renewables represented more than half of new power capacity globally.
Building on this positive trend demands policy reform, smart concessional financing and the end of perverse incentives.
We will invest 90 trillion dollars in global infrastructure over the next fifteen years. It would not cost much more to ensure that this infrastructure delivers the low-emission resilient economy envisioned in the Paris Agreement.
We got this Agreement – and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – thanks to strong unity of purpose. Now we need to move from aspirations to action. 
That includes quickly phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Right now, these subsidies top 400 billion dollars annually.
In Paris, developed countries collectively reaffirmed their pledge to mobilize 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 to support climate action by developing countries.
This goal is within reach – if we stay focused.
The latest assessment from the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance can help mobilize and track climate finance.
The Green Climate Fund is making progress in deploying its initial capital of 10 billion dollars. This will allow the Fund to initiate its replenishment, which needs to be bold.
 
We also have to strengthen the Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Fund.
Development banks should continue scaling up their climate-related lending. This concessional financing plays a catalytic role in leveraging larger private sector flows.
But we have to explore more ways to realign investment behaviours and integrate resilience across all aspects of national economic planning.
The adverse impacts of climate change will likely become more pervasive and severe.  Vulnerable populations will need more funding to cope. 
Financing is central to building resilience. So is available climate risk insurance.
When we invest in resilience now, we can reduce future losses and generate huge dividends.
To strengthen efforts to build climate resilience, I launched the Climate Resilience Initiative, “A2R” – Anticipate, Absorb and Reshape – last year in Paris. It has the goal of redoubling efforts to provide climate risk insurance – in close cooperation with the insurance sector.
We should collectively seek to provide least 400 million people with climate risk insurance coverage. G7 countries have announced important contributions to achieve this. I welcome these.
At the same time, we need to scale up assistance for climate resilient development. Developing countries need better access to climate finance and technology – as well as help to build capacity.
And we need further progress towards a global price on carbon. The true cost of carbon has to be factored into all investment decisions. 
Prices, investment portfolios and market indices cannot keep ignoring the health of our planet. 
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a masterplan to transform the global economy, bring new opportunities to billions of people, and create a healthier planet. 
But results depend on innovative financial solutions, more effective economic governance and new models of cooperation to achieve clean and resilient growth.
When we align investments and policies to achieve a low-emissions, climate resilient future, we open the way to a safer, healthier and more sustainable world for generations to come.
I hope that today’s dialogue will further progress in this direction.
 
Thank you.