Where do we stand with NDCs? Enhancing action on climate change in 2020

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Remarks by Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director, at the UNFCCC June Momentum for Climate Change

I would like to congratulate UNFCCC for this timely event on enhancing action on climate change in 2020.

2020 is a critical year for raising NDC ambitions and was supposed to culminate at COP 26 this November. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is devastating human lives and economies worldwide and has also led to postponement of COP 26 to November 2021. Developing countries – already the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – will suffer the most from the job losses and economic crisis.

Our common challenge is to maintain climate ambition in the context of Covid-19 and foster a green, resilient recovery based on global solidarity. Addressing climate change can revive economies, create jobs and foster resilient development. As leaders consider stimulus measures, we have a rare opportunity to leverage such measures to both create jobs in the short-term and foster a paradigm shift towards low-emission, climate-resilient development.

NDCs already have many investments that meet the dual objectives of addressing climate change and reviving economies through job creation. For example, investment in energy efficient building can rapidly generate large employment opportunities, reduce energy poverty, and increase energy security and resilience to extreme weather events.  Similarly, investments in climate resilient agriculture, water management and sanitation will preserve livelihoods and foster ecosystem restoration while investment in shovel-ready climate resilient infrastructure will protect people, jobs, and assets.

To ensure that countries maintain momentum on NDCs in 2020, it is critical that NDCs are leveraged to ‘green’ national recovery measures. This can be achieved in 2 ways: First, by integrating priorities in NDCs which promote green resilient recovery into stimulus packages to secure financing; and second, by crafting new green resilient recovery measures to enhance NDCs.

Most developing countries, particularly least-developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS) do not have the financial resources to consider billion-dollar stimulus packages. Developing countries will need to use scarce public resources and innovative financial structuring to catalyze larger financial flows to ensure that these green stimulus measures do not compound the debt burden they face.

How can the GCF help countries achieve this?

GCF is a country-driven and partnership institution. Through its network of over 150 institutions – ranging from some of the largest commercial and development banks in the world to UN agencies and civil society organizations that are at the forefront of the response – GCF can create unprecedented coalitions to assist countries realize their NDC ambitions.

We are capital agnostic. GCF uses a wide range of financial instrument – grants, loans, equity, guarantees and results-based payments – to support innovation and de-risk investments to scale up climate adaptation and mitigation. To date the GCF has committed USD 5.6 billion to 129 projects, with a total value of almost USD 20 billion (including co-financing). We have an ambitious pipeline for our next Board meeting, that could inject up to USD 1 billion in the economies of developing countries for climate investments that promote green resilient recovery.

GCF can also support developing countries’ efforts to design strategies and policies and to strengthen institutions to address climate change through several programming modalities.

Our Readiness Programme is a fast and flexible mechanism that supports developing countries to formulate NDCs, identify transformative investments, and strengthen national capacities for NDC implementation. As of 3 June, the GCF has approved 380 Readiness grants valued at approximately USD 248 million.

GCF’s Readiness support can be quickly deployed to help countries craft green resilient recovery measures and incorporate such measures into NDCs and stimulus packages. It can also help countries explore innovative approaches to finance projects without adding to a country’s debt burden. Countries have the flexibility to realign existing readiness grants or make specific requests to our ‘Rapid Readiness’ to easily access these resources.

Through our Project Preparation Facility, we support countries to convert their NDC priorities into a pipeline of bankable projects that ‘green’ the stimulus while achieving climate ambitions. Such proposals can be financed by the GCF and other financiers.

We look forward to the insights of this dialogue and to our joint initiatives to collectively support countries to raise and realize NDC ambitions and foster a green, resilient recovery in 2020.

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