Katowice, 13 December 2018 – The current replenishment drive of the Green Climate Fund received top-level support from developing and developed nations during the international climate change meeting in Poland.
A number of government ministers highlighted the central role of the GCF in building the global momentum needed to meet the climate challenge during the "Successful Start, Ambitious Future" event charting GCF's progress and future held Wednesday in the margins of COP24 now underway in the Polish city of Katowice. Svenja Schulze, Germany's Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety told a full-capacity crowd that her country stands by GCF and its goals. "We are doubling our contribution, and we want to motivate other donors to do likewise," she said.
COP24, the two-week climate change meeting, began on a positive note for GCF with an announcement by the German Government that it will double its pledge to GCF to EUR 1.5 billion. This was followed by Norway's announcement that it will double the USD 258 million it had already pledged to the Fund last year for GCF's initial resource mobilisation. Meanwhile, Ireland has also indicated it will also commit to finance the Fund.
In October, GCF launched its replenishment to top up the financial resources it allocates to developing countries to fund their action to address climate change. GCF Executive Director ad interim Javier Manzanares told the side event there is "an immense opportunity for GCF to be a global leader in driving ambitious climate impact and paradigm shift." Mr Manzanares highlighted the large potential for GCF to expand its mandate to provide financing to meet growing developing country ambition for climate action. In only three years since the Fund has been approving climate projects, it has committed USD 4.6 billion to 93 projects in 96 countries, he said.
A key theme among the speakers gathered at the event was the need for GCF to expand its ability to meet the increasing urgency of climate change, and to upscale its ability to help developing countries deal with it. Bill Hare, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Climate Analytics, said huge changes are necessary to get the world back on track to a safe course, highlighted by the recent IPCC report warning of the dangers of a world that is one and a half degrees warmer. "Realising the transformation goals of GCF will require major shifts in investment," he said.
Echoing the need to raise ambition for climate action, Yasmine Fouad, Egypt's Minister of Environment, said if there is "no paradigm shift, there will be no change and we will not be able to achieve the 1.5 goal."
Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s Minister of the Environment, added: "We expect GCF to actively care for the needs of developing countries, especially in light of the many disasters of extreme weather."
One of those countries already buffeted by harsh climate impacts is Kiribati. Comprising 33 low-lying islands spread across the size of the United States, this Pacific Small Island Developing State is on the frontline of climate change. The county's Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Teuea Toatu, depicted the importance of GCF and its ability to replenish its funds in stark terms.
"The GCF is the single most important fund," he said. "It is the Fund vulnerable countries rely on for our survival. It is our only hope."
The next year will be crucial for GCF as it seeks to expand its support from countries, regions and cities that can pledge for its replenishment. GCF Board Co-Chair Paul Oquist (from Nicaragua), who was joined at the side event by his fellow co-chair Lennart Bage (from Sweden), said "replenishing GCF is the most important climate event of 2019."
Also speaking at the event were Luis Alfonso de Alba, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit; Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD; and Terry McCallion, Director of the Energy Efficiency.