Innovative Climate Finance Strategies and Instruments by and for Climate Vulnerable Countries

November 14, 2017

Keynote Address of Senator Loren Legarda

COP 23 Side Event: “Innovative Climate Finance Strategies and Instruments by and for Climate Vulnerable Countries”

13 November 2017 | Bonn, Germany


It is an honor to open this side event of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies on innovative climate finance by and for climate vulnerable countries during the 23rd Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the first ever to be hosted by the great Pacific island nation of Fiji, which is also a member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.


The people of Fiji and other climate vulnerable nations have borne witness to the destruction wrought by rapid onset events, more commonly known as extreme weather events, just this year alone. We are also already dealing with the slow onset events or creeping impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise and ocean acidification.


This is why the sister initiatives of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers led the successful push to enshrine the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming threshold in the Paris Agreement two years ago.


As Head of Delegation of the Philippines to this year’s COP, I am proud to say our country took part in the founding of the V20 during our presidency of the CVF, which we handed over to Ethiopia in August last year, in Manila. And we continue to take great pride in being a member of the Troikas of both the CVF and V20.
For vulnerable nations like ours, it is actually 1.5°C that gave birth to Paris, because without this long-term temperature threshold goal, this agreement would have been like many others – with no driver of ambition and transformation, and blind to consequences.


I am pleased to hear that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is rising to the monumental task of assessing all of the science related to the 1.5°C target. The report would provide an opportunity to promote enhanced climate action by highlighting what more can be done now and in the near future to better align with 1.5 and by indicating how significant the additional risks are for just half a degree.


What the report would not show is that 1.5C is unachievable. It would outline what we already know about the more substantial and rapid action required to achieve 1.5 than for 2 degrees or for higher levels of warming.


I trust that our fellow member Fiji would bring about substantive progress on the Paris Agreement at COP23, and bolster our mission not merely to survive but also thrive.


Other member nations of the Climate Vulnerable Forum also continue to lead the charge in addressing the greatest challenge we face today. According to the latest analysis of Climate Action Tracker released last week, only Morocco and the Gambia have nationally determined contributions that are compatible with 1.5˚C. And four out of the five countries which have 2˚C-compatible climate action plans are also members of the CVF: Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.


Rest assured I shall do everything in my power to ensure the Philippines’s NDC will soon be rated 1.5˚C-compatible as well, as I assume all my counterparts in other CVF countries are doing as well.


We continue to pursue a development path consistent with 1.5 degrees not only because we know it is the best way to protect our people and climate, but also because we know it will also spur economic growth.


The Climate Vulnerable Forum launched the Low Carbon Monitor report last year which shows the opportunities in this pursuit. The CVF also committed in Marrakech to strive to achieve, with the support of our development partners, 100% clean energy generation for all members way before or by 2050.


However, there is more than just energy to consider in the transition to clean energy-powered economies is critical to climate action. The race to 1.5˚C-compatible economies presents to the ambitious an opportunity to transform development itself.


To start, we need climate-responsive plans and policies that would allow us to upgrade virtually all facets of our economies, which can only produce massive jobs and pump prime our economies. This can be done by first filling the staggering gap in local and national climate data through a research framework that encompasses both the rapid onset and slow onset impacts of climate change. Having a deep understanding of our vulnerabilities will enable us to plan better and smarter.


We would therefore need to garner international climate finance support for data gathering technology and bottom-up capacity building measures to enable a better understanding of our risks and investment opportunities.


And while we need to ensure that the pledges amounting to 100 billion dollars in public finance annually are delivered with the right balance, this figure pales starkly in comparison to private finance, which we need to tap with urgency.


We need financing and de-risking facilities that unlock investments in critical infrastructure assets outlined in the vulnerable country-led Climate Infrastructure Blueprints, including urban services, transport, water, energy, sustainable landscapes, and ocean and coastal ecosystems.


We need more solutions such as the Sustainable Insurance and Takaful Facility to build resilient and sustainable communities and economies in our vulnerable countries. I hope we will all be inspired by the Facility as well as the other innovative financing initiatives in Ethiopia and Bangladesh which you will hear about later in this event.


As for the CVF and V20, we will continue to develop and put forward innovative collective proposals to international funding mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund.


Working closely with our development partners, and with boldness, we can more rapidly de-risk investments even as we rapidly increase incentives that pull in the right kind of private sector capital towards climate-resilient, sustainable and inclusive plans that likewise contribute to the fight to keep warming within the 1.5 degree threshold.


Thank you very much.***