Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27 & UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda,
Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
We are two months away from COP-27. And the stakes cannot be higher.
Recent findings of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) once again highlighted that the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees is still on life support. Vulnerable countries and people, including here in Asia and the Pacific, will continue to bear the bulk of this burden.
All these challenges come at a very challenging time with rising prices, high inflation, a slow recovery from the pandemic, along with a temptation for countries to delay climate action. But holding warming to 1.5 degrees is a matter of now or never.
Finance and investments are uniquely placed to help us get there. But it has not reached the scale we need. The pledge of mobilizing $100 billion a year to support developing countries by 2020 has not been fulfilled: we stand at only some $80 billion by 2020, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
At the same time, private finance is playing a growing role in financing the necessary transition, such as in renewable energy and sustainable transport. But these investments are not at the scale needed. The trillions of dollars lying in private sector finance and investments remain largely untapped.
The good news is that investing in sustainability is no longer just an ethical choice, but it is one that makes the most business sense.
Our analysis shows that during the pandemic renewable energy proved to be more resilient than fossil fuel. The cost of renewables such as solar power also fell by more than 80 per cent in the last decade.
Investment in holistic disaster risk reduction costs $270 billion a year, only a third of current annual costs by disasters.
Investment in ICT and climate-resilient infrastructure to protect development gains and lay firm foundations for tomorrow’s economies will cost some $200 billion a year. This is less than the annual fossil fuel subsidies by countries in our region, something that is keeping our economies stuck in the past.
We need these green investments to happen at speed and scale. At the Forum today, we hope to bring together the pieces, build the missing links, and make it work.
To do so, we are delighted to showcase examples of investment-ready projects and initiatives from Asia and the Pacific in a wide range of sectors, from biorefinery to transboundary green grids and market-based financial instruments. And with the governments, experts, private sector and investors with us today, we hope to look at their investability and potential financing modalities.
I would like to underscore that this is by no means a definitive list of projects in the region that are investment-ready and climate-aligned. It is an example of the projects and investments that exist around our region that can be brought to life through private sector partnership, development and of course financing.
The Forum itself is just a start of what, I hope, will be a longer-term journey hopefully not a longer-term, let me say it medium-term journey together with governments and investors in the race to net zero.
To give us a head-start, we count on expertise of the Climate Champions and the members of the Glasgow Financial Alliance on Net Zero, and the experts can bring these initiatives to life and to help them grow at the scale we need.
And we look to the Egyptian leadership of the incoming COP-27 for bigger, bolder and more urgent climate actions. As H.E. Mr. Sameh Hassan Shoukry highlighted, it is time to turn pledges into immediate and effective actions.
All of you can count on ESCAP as your trusted partner to promote dialogue and cooperation in climate finance.