This was the key message from world leaders during the opening of the three-day Green Climate Fund (GCF) Private Investment for Climate Conference.
Highlighting the importance of COVID-19 recovery decisions taken now, United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said the twin COVID-19 and climate crises offer the world an opportunity to chart a new path of sustainable development.
“The recovery from the pandemic has to be an opportunity that creates jobs, that closes our gender gap and reduces the inequalities,” She said. “But it must also put us on track to meet our climate targets.”
“The important work of the Green Climate Fund is required more than ever as we accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy, and we try to strengthen resilience and adaptation across the developing world,” the Deputy Secretary General added.
Senegal President Macky Sall shared his strategy for a green energy transition in Senegal in the era of COVID-19.“Harnessing green financing will enable Senegal’s recovery plan to boost our renewable energy supply,” he stated.
“Universal energy access must be an important part of the recovery plan”, he added, stressing the need to link sustainable development goals with economic recovery from the pandemic.
Nobel economic prize winner Professor Joseph Stiglitz stated “Green investments are timely, labour intensive, targeted, have large multipliers…[they] can and should be a central part of the recovery packages… they enable us to not only recover from the pandemic, they enable us to recover greener, with more equality, with more resilience.”
Christiana Figueres, Founder of Global Optimism and ex-Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC compared COVID and climate to massive waves crashing on a beach and called for an injection of capital from global economies that is both green and socially inclusive.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia, stated, “The implementation of green recovery will be the driver for the world’s economic transformation. Indonesia has been, and will continue to be, committed to reducing our carbon emissions in addition to achieving a climate-resilient nation.”
Launching a new working paper on how to increase green investment in the face of COVID and climate challenges, GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec stated, “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought us to a tipping point or a turning point in our fight against climate change. Decisions taken by leaders today to revive their economies will either entrench our dependence on fossil fuels or put us on a path to achieve the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.”
GCF has brought together leaders in the business and public sectors for its third annual private sector-focused conference to explore new ways to collaborate with businesses to fund climate action in developing countries.
The forum is designed to tap the entrepreneurial energies of businesses large and small to create new sustainable markets and to resolve the climate finance paradox. This involves finding ways to redirect the trillions of dollars currently earning negative interest rates towards financing developing countries’ green, resilient COVID-19 recovery focusing on climate action.