Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Statement delivered at "Exploring the Co-benefits of Climate Finance for Development Outcomes: Building on successes and lessons learned to accelerate post-2015 action” COP21 Side-event

Dec 8, 2015

On behalf of all UN agencies who have been involved in the organization of this event- UNDP, FAO, UNCDF, UNEP, IPCC, IFAD and WHO- I am pleased to welcome you to the One UN Climate Finance Side Event, which this year focuses on “Exploring the Co-benefits of Climate Finance for Development Outcomes: Building on successes and lessons learned to accelerate post-2015 action.”

As our collective experience as a UN system has shown over the period of implementation of the MDGS and Kyoto Protocol, the interrelationship between climate change and development is undisputed. In recent years, the growing challenge that increasing climate impacts pose to sustainable development has become ever so clear.

Changing rainfall patterns affect the livelihoods of agriculture-dependent communities; increasingly frequent and intense natural hazards such as floods and cyclones disrupt infrastructure, and rising sea levels threaten the homes and livelihoods of entire coastal communities.

Likewise, failure to invest in low-carbon development locks countries into unsustainable, high-emission, and cost-ineffective development pathways.

Climate change action, such as low-emission energy or adaptation to increasing climatic impacts, is therefore critical to successful socio-economic development.

Take for example, support for access to renewable energy, which highlights the strong interrelationship between climate change and development gains. We know that access to reliable, sustainable energy not only supports global and national ambition for zero emissions, but also has a transformative development impact: it can provide lighting after dark and enable children to do their homework; but also offer clean cooking and heating in homes, charging for mobile communications, power for health care clinics and medical machines, faster processing of food and textiles, and a host of income-generating opportunities...

Whilst such an interrelationship is clear to the many of us who are engaged in the sector, we need now to ensure that it is at the forefront of development and climate action.

The new post-2015 development landscape will be guided by the major development milestones of this year: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and of course a forthcoming agreement here in Paris.  All of which integrate climate change.

We therefore have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to approach development and climate change in tandem, initiating transformative action for sustainable development.

Climate finance will thus play a key role in realizing this great opportunity and ambition. It will be essential to support developing countries with sufficient quantities of finance to enable them to cope with the growing impacts of climate change and build a zero-carbon, sustainable future.

There is no question that all sources of finance, public and private, domestic and international, will have a central role to play in supporting our transformative post-2015 sustainable development agenda. One source of finance does not substitute for another, and collectively, as a global community, we will need to explore innovative approaches to ensure that developing countries have the resources they need for climate and development action.

However, public finance will not be able to meet developing country needs on climate change by itself. It is critical that public finance be used strategically in order to catalyse scaled-up private finance. With the right policies, institutions and budgetary frameworks, countries can leverage scarce amounts of public finance to attract private investment.

It will be equally essential that developing countries are supported in ensuring that this finance is spent effectively to maximize climate and development outcomes, and in an equitable and inclusive manner that ensures that these outcomes benefit those countries and their communities who are most in need.

Through our experience in supporting Member States over the last decade on both development and climate finance, the role of the UN system in advancing the new development agenda will therefore be pivotal.

At UNDP, through our engagement with over 140 countries on integrated climate change and development approaches, we clearly see the development gains resulting from climate finance. We have helped countries to identify and address the barriers and associated risks they face in attracting public and private investment; we have helped them to put in place policies, institutions and budgetary frameworks that can leverage public investment to attract the private capital necessary to transition toward sustainable development.

For example, we have worked with the government of Uruguay to strengthen the renewable energy sector. In partnership with the Global Environment Facility , we supported the development of an enabling policy framework aimed at attracting private sector investments in wind energy. This has helped to reduce the risks surrounding potential investment in this sector substantially. 460MW of new wind energy is now in operation, with a total investment of 1.3GW anticipated by the end of 2015.  Another benefit already delivered has been lower retail energy tariffs for consumers.

Today, we will hear more about how countries have worked with the United Nations on similar experiences, to develop and implement the policies and systems which have helped them to catalyze climate finance for development outcomes. We will also hear perspectives on how to scale up climate finance and support for developing countries in the post 2015 period.

By sharing our experiences and perspectives, we can help inform the ongoing implementation of climate change and development action, and identify synergies across the new development agenda. I wish you all a fruitful discussion today and look forward to supporting the UN’s continued role in this agenda.

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