“We must increase the pool of finance available for mitigation and adaptation” – COP23 President’s Speech at the Workshop on Long-Term Climate Finance

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

As well as coping with the burdens of the ever-increasing impacts of climate change, nations the world over face the additional burden of allocating or raising finance for mitigation and adaptation.

As we all know, improving access to that finance is at the heart of the global responsibility to confront the climate challenge, and to enable developing countries to increase ambition in our Nationally Determined Contributions, so that we can meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The affluent nations of the world, in particular, bear a heavy responsibility to ensure that smaller and less affluent nations, who are bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change, do not suffer unnecessarily from events beyond their control.

Excellencies, we must as a matter of urgency increase the pool of finance available for mitigation and adaptation and ensure that it actually flows. This includes ensuring that conditions exist for private sector investment to flow in a way that allows rapid transformation of our countries in line with our NDCs.  Because all around us is evidence that the threat to the peoples and economies of vulnerable nations is increasing year by year.

Developed countries have put forward a roadmap to raise $100 billion of finance a year for climate-related projects in developing nations. We must achieve this target and we must achieve it by 2020 at the latest.

To do this, we must 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, mobilise the use of concessional finance, sovereign guarantees and risk transfer products and draw on the trillions of dollars in pension funds, which are looking for new ways to invest as they cut fossil fuel investments from their portfolios.

Developing direct links between the great financial markets of the world – and the need to generate investor returns – and mitigation and adaptation projects that assist ordinary people on the ground is critical and we must ensure this is not delayed.

In the case of Fiji, we have already taken action to mobilise finance for our own mitigation and adaptation efforts, through a number of innovative measures, which are beneficial to investors and beneficial to our people on the front line of the climate threat.

I was privileged last month to be present at the London Stock Exchange as we celebrated the launch of Fiji’s sovereign Green Bond dedicated to investments in climate mitigation and adaption projects. This makes Fiji the first emerging economy in the world to launch such an instrument.

I am proud to say that the Bond has been an unqualified success. It has, in fact, been oversubscribed in the two tranches issued so far. And that is an extraordinary vote of confidence by the markets in the use of such an instrument for climate resilience building, along with being a vote of confidence in the strength of the Fijian economy.

I am especially proud that we have been able to link arguably the most prestigious capital market in the world with the needs of ordinary Fijians. It is a link between the global and the local, conclusive evidence that not only can investors profit, but people in desperate need in climate affected areas can benefit from that investment.

We may be the first emerging economy in the world to launch such a bond, but I am confident we won’t be the last. And I urge other nations to examine the Fijian model as a viable way in which they too can gain access to finance for the projects they need to build their resilience in the face of the climate threat. I also ask all developed countries to support developing countries gain immediate access to climate finance, especially those with no real financial means.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, you have extremely important work to do over the next two days here in Bonn. And I ask you to put at the forefront of your minds the needs of the billions of people around the world who look to us to provide solutions to the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.