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UN Secretary-General Stresses Importance of Climate Finance

bankimoon-warsaw20 November 2013: Addressing a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underscored the importance of climate finance for addressing climate change, saying it can both fuel confidence in the negotiations and scale up action on the ground. In turn, a new climate agreement by 2015 will “do more than anything else to unlock the huge investment necessary" for adaptation and mitigation.

Speaking on 20 November 2013, Ban stressed the need to break down barriers to sustainable investment – including perverse subsidies, unpredictability of national climate policies, and budget constraints - and outlined three areas for action on climate finance: public finance; private finance; and operationalizing the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was established recently and is guided by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP).

On public finance, he said that, for low-carbon infrastructure to develop rapidly, it needs “large injections of public capital and stable, predictable long-term public policies.” Climate finance, he said, must not be taken hostage by short-term budget considerations, and developed countries must deliver on their public finance commitments.

On private finance, he cited its importance for meeting energy demand in developing countries. A “public lever” for these private funds is also essential, he said. Ban noted that the bulk of institutional investors' assets are in high-carbon investments, and those investors have a responsibility to transform the global economy.

On the GCF, Ban said, “We have an empty shell. There is nothing.” He called for ministers' support in readying the Fund to support developing countries' efforts in mitigation and adaptation.

Ban also highlighted the climate change summit he will convene on 23 September 2013 to raise political momentum in support of the negotiations and catalyze concrete action. He said the Summit presents a unique opportunity to leverage financial, political and organizational capital to spur a “transformational development surge.”

Finally, the Secretary-General noted that climate change is essential for sustainable development, and that a new legal global climate agreement can boost post-2015 efforts to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. [UN Press Release] [Statement of UN Secretary-General]