Excellency Ken O’Flaherty, COP26 Regional Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific and South Asia,
Excellency Seve Paeniu, Minister of Finance of Tuvalu,
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
A warm welcome to all participants in this very last Thematic Session of Asia-Pacific Climate Week.
Thank you to the Government of the United Kingdom and the UK COP 26 Presidency team for joining hands with ESCAP in promoting regional and multilateral collaboration in mobilizing finance for climate action.
The challenge of climate change remains daunting, and the need for climate adaptation and mitigation has never been more urgent. As countries prioritize a speedy economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a risk that less attention will be paid to dealing with climate change. The significant policy packages rolled out by Governments may have missed the opportunity to promote low-carbon, climate-resilient and green development pathways.
This needs to change. A successful transition requires significant financial flows that are aligned with climate action, significantly more than currently available in the region.
So, after a week of discussions and expert opinions, we must reiterate the importance of de-carbonizing our production and consumption patterns, transforming our economies to become more inclusive, resilient and sustainable, and revisiting our financing and investment strategies to better support such initiatives.
It is time for us to commit to Net-Zero emission by 2050.
Policymakers need additional and innovative financing options for climate action, and to move forward in developing and implementing ambitious low-carbon national actions and economy-wide approaches. Innovative financing instruments - such as green, SDG-linked and sustainability bonds, and debt-for-climate swaps - alongside enabling regulatory and private sector engagement frameworks, can channel financial flows for ambitious climate action.
Allow me to highlight three important areas with high potential to generate additional public and private climate finance in the region.
First, we should make better use of climate-related financial disclosures from the private and financial sectors.
A uniform reporting framework, such as the one proposed by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, would ensure consistency across industries and countries. Consistent climate-related financial disclosures will help investors direct their investments towards climate action solutions and manage risks associated with climate-related challenges. It is also important to make such disclosures mandatory. New Zealand was the first country to require financial institutions to report climate-related financial disclosures by a new law in 2020, and Hong Kong is targeting 2025.
Second, we can re-direct financing to investments in nature-based solutions.
This approach ameliorates climate change impacts, improves the resilience of both rural and urban areas, and enhances natural carbon sinks in the region.
We will hear shortly about such success stories as Indonesia’s Sovereign Islamic Securities and Thailand’s Tree Bank. However, we need these examples to become mainstream investments throughout the region.
Lastly, we must put a price on carbon.
Carbon pricing is increasingly recognized as a critical tool in the transition to a low-carbon future. It provides a clear economic signal to stimulate investment in cleaner technology and market innovation, thereby fuelling new, low-carbon drivers of economic growth in a flexible and cost-effective way. The introduction of carbon pricing in the region could also open up fiscal space for countries and help address climate change. ESCAP is currently studying the opportunities to apply carbon pricing instruments.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
This conversation on mobilizing finance for climate action is so meaningful today it has been reflected in the interventions of ESCAP in the various thematic sessions of this week.
I look forward to hearing further the perspectives of the distinguished speakers.
Thank you very