Beirut, 12 September 2019 (ESCWA)--Today, international experts and officials gathered at ESCWA headquarters in Beirut to discuss the most efficient ways to support financing climate action globally and in the Arab region. The 2-day Forum on Climate Finance and Sustainable Cities is organized by the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) in partnership with ESCWA, the Union for the Mediterranean and the Islamic Development Bank Group.
“We are in a climate emergency. The science has never been more precise. The signs are as compelling as they are alarming,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, in a video message.
In her opening statement, ESCWA Executive Secretary, Rola Dashti, shed some light on the current situation of climate financing in the Arab region. “Climate adaptation is a priority in the Arab region, but developed countries provide Arab States 5 times more bilateral support for mitigation,” she said. “First, the type of climate finance does not match the demand; this is a quality problem. And second, the supply of climate finance is insufficient; this is a quantity problem and more support is needed.”
Dashti added: “Arab States are committed and have established the Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies at ESCWA. Through this Centre, we support them in advancing climate assessment, policy, action and dialogue but the region still needs more support, and we need it at scale,” she stressed.
According to the SCF co-Chair, Ayman Shasly, the main goal of the Forum is to facilitate exchange of information among climate finance actors and promote coherence. “I hope it can contribute to deeper engagement,” he said.
His colleague SCF co-chair Ismo Ulvila underlined that the SCF Forum was focusing on climate finance at the subnational level for the first time. “Cities are working hard to take more ambitious action but many are struggling to mobilize resources,” he said.
For his part, Lebanese Minister of Environment Fady Jreissati said that Lebanon should engage more in climate negotiations. “We are not the best performers as we still have major challenges, especially in solid waste and in financing, but we look forward to learning from you and figuring out access to finance,” he added. “I can assure you of the commitment of my team to climate change and our eagerness to reach out for your support”.
Efforts to mobilize more climate finance will be a key topic this December at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) in Santiago, Chile. Many of the climate finance negotiators who will attend the Conference of the Parties are attending this Forum at ESCWA in preparation for the COP.
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