“If governments create opportunity, the markets respond” – COP23 President’s Remarks on Climate Finance at Petersberg Dialogue IX

Remarks by the Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama on Climate Finance at the ninth Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. On 18 and 19 June, the German Federal Environment Ministry and the Government of the Republic of Poland are hosting the 9th Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. This informal meeting of ministers and representatives from 35 countries focusses on the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and preparation for the next Climate Change Conference, which will take place in December in Katowice under Poland’s Presidency.

As COP23 President, I regard boosting the flow of climate finance – with an increased proportion going to adaptation in vulnerable countries – as one of the top three priorities of our global action agenda, along with completing the Paris work programme on time, and ensuring the success of the Talanoa Dialogue to raise ambition in our Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So I very much welcome the focus that has been placed on finance at the Petersberg Dialogue and Germany’s particular focus on the urgent need to replenish the Green Climate Fund.

Without resolute action from governments, we have no hope of meeting the commitment made in Paris to mobilise $100-billion a year in public and private finance to climate vulnerable nations by 2020. Governments need to take a lead not only by increasing their own contributions to the GCF and other climate finance, but by doing their part to unlock the vast pool of private capital in the global economy that can be directed towards resilience building and the transition to the zero carbon economy by 2050.

So I know I speak for all climate-vulnerable nations in appealing for a renewed effort to make this public-private partnership work, meet the 2020 deadline and ensure that we have the means to build our resilience to the frightening new era that is already upon us.

The scale of the challenge we all face demands a holistic response. Yes, we need the developed nations to contribute more to the pool of finance available and ensure that it is targeted quickly and efficiently to where it is most needed. But there is also a great deal that governments can do through their policy settings to assist the process and we need a renewed focus on this as the clock ticks steadily towards 2020.

Developed countries should guide investors and markets by removing unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies, pricing carbon and supporting or implementing as policy the recommendations of Michael Bloomberg’s Task Force on climate-related financial disclosures.

We can leverage the use of concessional finance enabled by funders like the Green Climate Fund and look to sovereign guarantees and risk transfer products to further help engage with the trillions of dollars in pension funds that are looking for new investments as they move away from fossil fuels.

We can tap the expertise of the private sector to develop new and innovative means through which increased and sustained finance can flow into areas of need. We need to mainstream financial instruments like Green Bonds and Climate Bonds – and I urge you all to examine Fiji’s experience of becoming the first emerging economy to launch a Sovereign Green Bond on the London Stock Exchange. The first two tranches have been oversubscribed, which is an indication in itself of investor enthusiasm for innovative measures that produce returns and also finance resilience-building projects in places like Fiji.

And we need more national Green Investment Banks or similar bodies than can blend public and private finance and facilitate its disbursement.

Excellencies, all this is a test of our credibility and resolve but it must be met. I repeat: governments must take the lead but experience tells us that if governments create opportunity, the markets respond. And I am convinced above all that if we can raise the ambition of our NDCs to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and developed nations honour commitments on climate finance, backed by sound policy, this will unlock the trillions of dollars that we know are out there and can be utilised for the transition we have no choice but to make.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.