28 March 2022

Beirut time

Regional Consultation

Needs-based finance strategy

  • Atlantis, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In tandem with the MENA Climate Week 2022, ESCWA, in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is organizing a consultation on the Needs-Based Finance Strategy for Arab States.

This regional consultation supports the preparation of the Arab Climate Finance Access and Mobilization Strategy. It engages regional stakeholders in the identification of priority climate finance needs and interventions. The aim is to support Arab countries through improving the access to financial instruments, including those provided by international climate finance mechanisms, with a special focus on financing adaptation as a regional priority.

The consultation provides an overview of the global and regional states of climate finance in the context of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, the Needs-Based Finance project and of some highlights from the Technical Assessment of Climate Finance for Arab States.

Outcome document

  • Climate change is a multi-sectoral global challenge. Its effects are already felt heavily in the Arab region. This calls for urgent upscaling and acceleration of existing climate action, including climate finance.
  • A robust climate finance strategy is required to identify gaps, needs and priorities. This strategy should be based on a thorough assessment of the needs in the Arab region. Given the different income and economic structures between countries, there can be no “one size fits all” climate finance strategy.
  • Currently, the quantity and quality of available finance falls short of the needs of the Arab region. There is an enormous gap between costed financing needs and actual funds available. In addition, current funding focuses primarily on financing mitigation action and is based on debt-type instruments.
  • Future climate finance should prioritize the region’s adaptation needs and should not further increase the region’s already historically high debt burden. Innovative financing strategies, such as Islamic social finance or debt for climate/nature swaps, can help achieve this. In addition, the pledged annual USD 100 billion for climate finance are equally needed.
  • Enhanced private sector engagement, particularly from the banking and financing sector, is needed to scale up climate finance in the region. Governments need to support this engagement by providing an enabling environment.
  • Accessing available finance remains challenging in the Arab region, including the costing and strengthening of the climate rationale of existing projects. This calls for capacity building efforts across stakeholders.
  • Regional and cross-sectoral cooperation is crucial to encourage knowledge sharing and accelerate climate action.

In their Opening Statements, H.E. Minister Yasmina Fouad, Dr. Rola Dashti and Dr. Mahmoud Fath-Allah highlighted the multi-sectoral challenges posed by climate change in the region as well as the urgent need to scale up climate finance. Climate finance should be based on a thorough needs assessment that considers the country-specific context, it should prioritize the region’s adaptation needs and not further increase the historically high debt burden the region is currently shouldering. This can help channel resources towards the actual needs of the region. 

During this session Mr. Albara Tawfiq, Mr. Daniele Violetti and Ms. Carol Chouchani Cherfane presented climate finance perspectives from Arab States, a needs-based finance project overview, as well as highlights from the Technical Assessment of Climate Finance for Arab States. Speakers highlighted the need to close the gap between costed climate finance needs and funds available, the need to build capacity in the region for accessing finance as well as the need for a focused regional dialogue for enhanced cooperation and knowledge sharing.

During the open discussion, participants underscored the importance of government support for private sector engagement in financing climate action, in particular relating to accessing funding from the Green Climate Fund. The need to strengthen the climate rationale of existing projects to improve access to funding, the need for enhanced regional cooperation, for example through a regional taskforce for climate finance, as well as the role innovative local and international financial instruments play for climate finance were also discussed.

Event details

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