Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that climate finance is insufficient, inefficient and unfair, explaining that overcoming the obstacles of climate finance in developing countries requires activating innovative finance instruments, improving the performance of public finance, scaling up private finance, and strengthening the regional and local dimensions of climate action.
This came during his participation in the High Level Plenary Session entitled “Scaling Climate Finance To Reach the Trillions” within the events of Building Bridges Conference in Geneva, with the participation of Barbara Buchner, Global MD of Climate Policy Initiative, Avinash Persaud, Special Envoy of Government of Barbados on Investment and Finance, Hubert Keller, Managing Partner at Lombard Odier, and Mattia Romani, Chief Policy Officer at holistiQ Investment Partners.
Mohieldin highlighted the importance of finance, technology and supervisory roles for guiding investment and consumption behavior, warning of the reversal impacts of some green transition supporting initiatives in the developed countries on investment and export in developing countries, especially in Africa.
He explained that promoting climate action at the regional and local levels is necessary to overcome a number of constraints, including the widening financing gap, the lack of full commitment of the banking sector around the world so far to achieve the net zero target, and the limited impacts of the minimal participation of investment funds in climate action in developing countries, while rating agencies are not working well to assess the performance of countries and companies with regard to environmental and climate action, as well as the laxity of regulators and legislative bodies in monitoring the contributions of various actors to climate action and their commitment to related standards.
In this regard, Mohieldin said that the Five Regional Roundtables Initiative, launched by the Egyptian presidency of COP27 last year in cooperation with the UN Regional Economic Commissions and the HLCs, in which the UAE presidency of COP28 participates in its second edition this year, aimed at finding investable, bankable and implementable projects.
It brought together various actors at one table, including public and private sectors, investors, IFIs and MDBs, adding that the initiative has resulted in promising projects, and agreements has been reached on financing a number of them this year while work is underway to close more deals for a number of other projects before COP28 kicks off in Dubai.
The climate champion underlined the importance of increasing the capital of MDBs and adopting new more effective financing policies that enable them to effectively play their role in reducing the risks of finance and investment in developing countries, help governments in these countries improve the regulatory framework for business, and encourage the private sector to participate more in financing and implementing climate projects.
Mohieldin referred to Benban Solar Power Plant in Egypt, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, saying that the plant is a role model for climate projects as it has the elements of climate action success, which are finance, good regulatory structure, and advanced technology that is developed by the United States and a number of European countries, optimally used in China and benefited by Egyptian engineers in implementing this project, stressing that finance, technology and stimulating policies are the keys to the success of climate action.