The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Monday, 9 December 2019:
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This event provided an update on the Adaptation Committee’s work and discussed advances in private sector engagement. The event also presented and gathered feedback on a toolkit under preparation, which will enable policymakers to more effectively engage the private sector, especially in the process of formulating and implementing national adaptation plans (NAPs).
Emerson Resende, Green Climate Fund (GCF), moderated this event. Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Foundation, stressed that while adaptation is expensive, climate change mitigation is profitable. He reported that his foundation is selecting 1000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way, and noted that over 300 solutions have been identified and will be awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label.
Frédéric Schafferer, UNFCCC Adaptation Committee, discussed the Committee’s milestones in private sector engagement, citing knowledge collection, a workshop on fostering engagement of agri-food sector in climate change adaptation, and the Adaptation Forum during the Republic of Korea’s Global Adaptation Week.
Alec Crawford, NAP Global Network, said the toolkit for private sector engagement, inter alia: lays the groundwork and provides enabling conditions for involvement; assesses vulnerabilities, provides options, and communicates NAP processes to the private sector; provides the enabling conditions to address private sector needs; and addresses monitoring and evaluation requirements.
Meghan Doherty, Winrock International, spoke on the Private Investment for Enhanced Resilience (PIER) project, noting work in Viet Nam to help private sector adaptation engagement. She reported that accessing climate data remains a challenge to developing adaptation and resilience policies.
Trần Thị Thanh Nga, Viet Nam, noted that the private sector faces barriers to adaptation, including the difficulty in quantifying adaptation activities, and pointed to a dearth of data and information to drive adaptation.
Santiago Aparicio, Colombia, pointed to the country’s information system developed through GCF financing and highlighted Colombia’s communication strategy on adaptation geared toward various stakeholders, including the private sector.
Chris Brown, Olam International, underlined the need for urgency within governments to create an enabling environment for the private sector to respond to both climate change and the market.
This session was followed by an interactive panel discussion. On improving engagement with the private sector, Crawford stressed the importance of communicating the profitability of adaptation to businesses. Brown said supporting private sector resilience enables improved business functions and profitability.
On who pays for adaptation, Doherty cited Peru’s tax incentives for businesses that support community projects, as an example. Nga said that while government has been the main adaptation funder, private sector funds have increased.
Discussing providing opportunities for the private sector, Aparicio, drew attention to existing policies that identify risks and provide opportunities for innovative adaptation, citing the green growth public policy.
Crawford said private sector adaptation decisions can led to increased profitability, while increasing resilience among communities.
This event discussed how climate finance mechanisms are using development capital to mobilize additional private finance to drive green investments, and create new markets for climate finance. Panelists discussed engagement between development finance institutions (DFIs) and climate finance institutions to scale investments and develop a roadmap with a common goal. This event also demonstrated how innovative equity, grant, guarantee and lending instruments deployed by the GCF and the GEF are used to de-risk scalable projects and contribute to achieving the commitments of the Paris Agreement in developing countries.
Barbara Buchner, Executive Director, Climate Finance, Climate Policy Initiative, moderated the event. During the first panel, the GEF and GCF discussed their motivation and role in providing project structures that have had a catalytic impact of blending project capital stacks.
Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson said nature is heterogenous and thus managing natural resources requires blended finances, adding that partnerships are the beauty of blended finance. She emphasized the need for radical changes in economic pathways and financing to support a shift to circular systems of food production and energy efficiency, among others.
Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director, said investments follow a risk-reward gradient, and that blended finance provides projects with a fighting chance by enabling risk management. He noted that when projects are branded unbankable, investors focus on risk and steer away from seeing the risk-reward gradient. The GCF, he said, focuses on de-risking in order to attract investments. Providing an example from renewable energy investment in Kenya, he noted the provision of equity capital that enabled a small/medium-sized enterprise (SME) to receive two dollars from banks for every dollar of financing disbursed for the project.
Sir Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics, emphasized that investment opportunities should be supported by the right policies and finances, saying blended finances can do this. He noted the need to manage risk, particularly in regards to infrastructure, adding that a flexible policy environment combined with blended finance can enhance investor confidence.
On why private institutions should be interested in working with the GCF and the GEF, Glemarec said the GCF is fostering a paradigm shift towards low emissions development in low income countries. He highlighted: 95 acredidated partners for co-financing and co-implementation; grant and non-grant instruments that are specific to different projects; and mechanisms to reduce or share risk by ensuring projects are aligned to national priorities. The GEF, Ishii said, shares the vision of the GCF in promoting a paradigm shift, and has a long-term history of working with governments to contribute to challenges and benefits of tranforming key economic sectors.
The second panel discussed: misperceptions of investment risk into low emissions development pathways; ways to avoid crowding out private investment and ensure optimization and making public climate finance catalytic; and lessons from blended finance to achieve the scale up necessary to achieve both mitigation and adaptation investment.
Jay Koh, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Lightsmith Group, said lessons from successful mitigation models that have been scaled into investment opportunities can be applied in adaptation. He cited the Climate Resilience and Adaptation Finance and Technology-transfer Facility (CRAFT), funded by the Nordic Development Fund and the GEF, to support the development and launch of the first private sector investment strategy for climate adaptation and resilience solutions.
Ed Wells, Head of Group Policy, Sustainable Finance and Investment, HSBC, said that modalities of reducing or protecting projects from risk exist, noting that rather than reinventing them, success stories should be replicated, scaled up and standardized.
Hans Peter Lankes, Vice-President, Economics and Private Sector Development, International Finance Cooperation (IFC), cautioned against trying to solve or patch up policy problems with blended finance, and emphasised the need for transparency and full disclosure by investors on their activities. He remarked that the IFC is in the process of disclosing on its concessions.
Josué Tanaka, Managing Director, Operational Strategy and Planning, Energy Efficiecy and Climate Change, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), said policy “is the turbo engine for everything,” adding that policy change and the amount of concessional funds invested are related. He noted that blended finances should be used to facilitate the retirement of carbon intensive stock, such as fossil fuel investments.
Andrew Johnstone, CEO, Climate Investor One, said bankability should be debunked since investors are not a homogenous group and require the right incentives. He urged for blended finance to break through “sacred cows” that cause limitations on what is bankable or not, and thereby build confidence for first time investors.
This event, which featured four panels, brought together UN agencies and partners representing indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), the private sector, and youth to demonstrate collaborative actions between agencies, funds and programmes to address climate issues through the lens of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on SDG 15 (life on land).
In his opening remarks, Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), noted the importance of building bridges between the UN, youth, and IPLCs to address land issues in 2020 nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Luis Alfonso de Alba, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, remarked that multi-stakeholder participation contributed to the success of the 2019 Climate Action Summit, lauding the involvement of youth, IPLCs, local and sub-national authorities, and the private sector. He noted that the solutions to address climate change will require all actors, and underscored that a single agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, has unified the UN.
Grethel Aguilar, Acting Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), underscored the role of nature-based solutions, noting that land conservation can provide 30% of mitigation potential required to meet the 2°C target. Noting that land restoration pledges of over 100 million hectares have been secured through the Bonn Challenge, she also called for urgent action to reverse the threats to the oceans.
Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), stressed the importance of focusing on land degradation neutrality as an essential link to addressing climate change as well as to achieving the SDGs. Calling for an allocation of 30% of climate financing kitty for land-based solutions, he further stressed that people, partnerships and landscapes are key to addressing the complex issues within the climate crisis.
Opining that the time for negotiations is over, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, SDG Advocate, called for solutions to enable indigenous peoples to address climate change and implementation of rights-based approaches. Underlining the importance of technology working hand in hand with indigenous knowledge, she underscored that nature-based solutions cut across all the SDGs.
Moderating the panel on land-based mitigation, Mario Boccucci, Head, UN-REDD Programme, reiterated the importance of partnerships and “defragmenting the space” to achieve global goals. He described UN-REDD as a partnership with countries, civil society and IPLCs, noting that “if you want to go far, work together.”
Lamenting the criminalization of indigenous people around the world, Grace Balawag, Tebtebba, highlighted that IPLCs have been the holders of traditional knowledge and nature-based solutions for generations. She noted work with national and local governments to change policies to recognize IPLC land tenure rights, and underlined the importance of enhancing partnerships, based on mutual trust and respect to maintain IPLCs’ contributions in nature-based solutions.
Danilo Urzedo, Youth4Nature, highlighted that national and international level actions in Brazil have helped link innovation with local knowledge. He lamented that the new government has frozen USD 500 million of funds earmarked for Amazon conservation. Noting that the conservation momentum is waning due to lack of funding and support, he called for global multi-stakeholder participation in community-led mitigation and adaptation.
Fabiola Zerbini, Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020, noted that voluntary agreements, like the soy moratorium, are important instruments for private sector engagement. She also highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships to implement jurisdictional approaches, and called for solidarity among stakeholders to address socio-economic challenges, rather than boycotting companies and products.
Nigel Crawhall, UNESCO, moderated the adaptation panel. José Cardoso Cassandra, President of the Regional Government of Príncipe, São Tomé and Príncipe, highlighted the country’s shift from wood-based construction to a low-carbon construction system. He further discussed UNESCO’s support for programmes including: replacing plastic bottles with metal ones; awareness-building and education; beach cleanups; and promoting conservation through biosphere reserves.
Drawing attention to a partnership with UNESCO to address climate change, Oumarou Ibrahim described IPLCs’ improved awareness of climate change due to their experiences on the front lines of climate impacts, and stressed that “we cannot fight climate change without community involvement.”
Ana Vitória Tereza de Magalhães, Youth Forum of Biosphere Reserves, reported on UNESCO’s work with the Forum, stressing the application of nature-based solutions in biosphere reserves to promote climate change adaptation. Stating that the climate crisis is a “crisis of values,” she highlighted opportunities to learn from IPLC-led nature-based solutions to address the crisis.
Stefan Schneiderbauer, UNU, moderated the discussion on mountain ecosystems. Norma Kassi, Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation and Canada Mountain Network, highlighted the benefits of mountains for humans and ecosystems, highlighting the threat posed by melting glaciers to mountain communities. She reported on government support to address challenges facing indigenous communities, stating that these communities are leading the way in climate solutions, including through renewable energy technologies.
Florian Eisele, UN-REDD Programme | [email protected]
Nigel Crawhall, UNESCO | [email protected]
The Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) at COP 25 dinner convened to promote dialogue among business, government, academia and UN affiliates on what it means to realize a circular economy in various sectors, and key solutions to reach net zero emissions across all sectors by 2050.
In joint opening remarks, ICLEI President Ashok Sridharan and SDSN Director Jeffrey Sachs noted, respectively, encouraging initiatives such as the ICLEI Green Circular Cities Coalition and the need to pressure governments in the next year to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. Sachs further warned against the “big lie” that such commitments are detrimental to the economy, suggesting in doing so that “the world can no longer tolerate this self-destruction.”
Peter Bakker, WBCSD President and CEO, in a keynote address titled “Driving Ambition to Net Zero,” underscored that “we know what we need to do, we now need to get it done.” He said policymakers must put a price on carbon, better manage the risks of climate change, and end all fossil fuel subsidies. He called on leaders in the audience to develop solutions without overreliance on outcomes of climate negotiations, considering their slow pace.
In a first Ice-Breaker Dialogue on a systems approach to mitigate emissions, a number of participants urged for, among others, the decarbonization of production and the electrification of consumption, as well as for careful consideration of the behavioral changes required for the transition towards a circular economy.
Ramiro Mato, Member of the Board and President of the Responsible Banking, Sustainability and Culture Board Committee, Banco Santander, underlined the role of the financial sector in mobilizing the capital to achieve net zero emissions. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), said the GEF Global Platform on Sustainable Cities had seen businesses and local authorities working together successfully despite political constraints.
Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Foundation, said it is essential to use language that compels those most sceptical about climate action. He added that there is “one advantage to climate negotiations taking so much time and bringing almost nothing,” namely that it creates frustration in the business world, which drives businesses to change their business models to address climate change.
Izabella Teixeira, Co-Chair, International Resource Panel, said the Paris Agreement was a first step towards a massive societal transformation and new political environment during which “we will implement and no longer negotiate.” Marina Grossi, President, Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Brazil, said that the Brazilian private sector is taking the lead in lobbying for better government regulation that would embrace carbon pricing, among others.
During the second Ice-Breaker Dialogue, which considered what the circular economy means for the energy, buildings, transport, water, and industrial sectors, participants noted, among others, the need for cooperation across sectors to develop new solutions, calling for systemic rather than sectoral transformations.
Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, said his city once recovered from an economic crash by investing in clean energy, technology and medicine, but that this recovery model was now in jeopardy due to petrochemical companies seeking to relocate to the region. Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku, Finland, noted that Turku was able to reduce emissions by 30% from 1990 levels while maintaining economic growth. She later described two circular economy efforts conducted in parallel: those undertaken by her city, which she said were environmentally friendly, “energy positive” and cost effective; and those undertaken to promote circularity among businesses in her region.
Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Climate Action Champion, Chile, delivered a closing keynote during which he recalled that Dutch business leader Paul Polman once presciently told him that, “for any organization in the world, there are two big risks: climate change and inequality.” After saluting Spain’s offer to host COP 25 in the wake of Chile’s social unrest, he said the latter was due to a “crisis of empathy” with the most vulnerable. He reminded the audience that those taking decisions on climate change and inequality are not those suffering their worst effects, and underlined that we must “both take action, as well as take the most vulnerable into consideration.”
María Mendiluce, Managing Director, WBCSD, closed the event with brief final remarks.
Karl Vella, WBCSD | [email protected]