Copenhagen 100 bln pledge would make up 3% of needed climate change finance if met: Mohieldin

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Sep 2022

Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt, stated on Tuesday that developed countries have not yet fulfilled the pledges they made at Copenhagen’s UN Climate Change Conference to finance climate action in developing countries by $100 billion annually, although this sum, even if fulfilled, would represent no more than 3 percent of the required climate action financing.

Mahmoud Mohieldin
Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development taken on 14 September, 2022. Photo courtesy of Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin Twitter account.


During the Climate Week NYC 2022, which is being held in New York in September 19 – 25, Mohieldin – who is also the UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda – said that fulfilling climate action financing pledges and promises from states and non-state actors is necessary before discussing the huge funds that are currently required.

Thirteen years ago in Copenhagen’s COP15, advanced economies pledged $100 billion to help developing economies meet climate action goals. The pledge was endorsed by 2015’s Paris Agreement and a year later entered into force, with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Despite this, fulfilling the Copenhagen pledges will be good, as it will pave the way to fulfilling current and future climate action financing pledges and commitments. It will reflect the obligation of governments to finance climate action and this will encourage non-state actors to participate and fulfil their pledges as well,” Mohieldin said, while praising the fact that six or seven developed countries, including Japan, have fulfilled their share of Copenhagen pledges to finance climate action in developing countries.

Mohieldin highlighted the necessity of investing available funds in the climate action tracks that are most in need of funding, especially climate change adaptation measures, considering that the private sector and different financing entities are doing a great job in financing and implementing climate change mitigation projects, stressing the need for a balanced attention to all climate action aspects including mitigation, adaptation, dealing with losses and damages, and financing climate projects.

The climate champion stressed the importance of finance as a tool of implementing mitigation and adaptation measures and dealing with losses and damages, saying that financing climate action in developing countries should take the shape of partnerships and investments in order not to add to their debt burden, and to help them fulfil their other development commitments.

"Some reports show that 62 percent of financing climate action in developing countries is debt-based, and this pushed many of these countries, especially in Africa, to face a debt crisis or even a debt catastrophe," Mohieldin explained, saying that even if developing countries should borrow to finance climate action, grants and loans should be provided with easy terms, long repayment periods and low interest rates, as it has been applied by the International Development Association (IDA).

He referred to other sources of climate action financing including innovative finance instruments such as debt swaps for co-investing in climate projects, blended finance that brings public and private finance together, and establishing carbon markets that suit the priorities of developing countries’ economies.

Mohieldin said that COP27, which will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh next November, gives high priority to climate action financing, referring to the five regional forums initiative launched by the Egyptian presidency of COP27, UN regional economic commissions and HLCs, four of which already resulted in more than 70 investable, bankable and applicable climate projects.

Mohieldin affirmed the necessity of considering financing climate action as a financing of all SDGs, where climate projects help achieving many SDGs, not only climate targets.

Over 6,000 projects compete in Egypt’s initiative for green projects

In another event, Mohieldin said that the total number of projects competing in the National Initiative for Smart and Green Projects has reached 6,281 submissions out of which 2,220 projects were able to meet all conditions, and the final list is being prepared. 

In early August, Egypt's official gazette published Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s decision to launch the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects nationwide under the supervision of Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said, and Ambassador Hisham Badr, the coordinator of the initiative.

Madbouly also assigned Mohieldin as the jury chairperson of the initiative that is responsible for selecting winning projects.

The initiative, part of the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, will chart a map for each governorate's smart green projects, connecting them with funding agencies and attracting the necessary investments.

Mohieldin explained that the initiative aims to localise climate action so that citizens feel the fruits of COPs.

The six categories of competing projects are mega projects, medium projects, small local projects, especially those related to women, and the Decent Life initiative, startups projects, development projects related to women, climate change and sustainability, and finally the non-profit social initiatives and participations. 

Mohieldin's remarks came during his speech in the high-level dialogue dubbed “The Potential of Green/Blue Bonds and Co-investment Platforms to Catalyze Climate Finance” on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The dialogue discussed the role of green and blue bonds and co-investment platforms in mobilizing climate finance and unlocking access to new sources of finance in the presence of Lazarus MacCarthy Chakwera, President of Malawi, and Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Special Envoy for International Climate Action. 

In a related context, the climate champion highlighted the importance of integrating the regional dimension into climate action, especially in light of the challenges facing the world today. He also expressed his happiness with the outcomes of the four regional forums held in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Arab region, which resulted in more than 70 projects.

Mohieldin added that half of these projects are related to mitigation and the other half is related to adaptation, as these regional forums aim to find solutions to the climate crisis through investable and bankable projects. This move is in line with the sustainable development goals and a holistic approach to climate action. The Fifth Regional Forum is scheduled to be held next October in Geneva. The forums are organized by COP27 presidency in cooperation with the UN regional commissions and High-Level Champions (HLCs). 

Mohieldin also referred to the accumulated debt crisis, mentioning the so-called fourth wave of debt, according to the World Bank, a matter that requires the availability of additional and innovative funding sources (Finnovation), such as debt swaps for investment in nature. He also praised the efforts of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with regard to debt reduction mechanisms. 

Regarding implementation, Mohieldin emphasised that there is a great deal of understanding about what should be done by the private and public sectors as well as civil society, stressing the need for general guidelines to ensure coordination between state and non-state actors. 

Mohieldin also stressed the need to support carbon markets in Africa, adding this support includes financial support, as well as technical one. 

The climate champion concluded his speech by emphasising the role of political leaders in advancing the climate action agenda, stressing the need to align countries' budgets to development plans.


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