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Deputy Secretary-General Urges Scaled-up Funding to Help Vulnerable Countries Address Climate Crisis, at Meeting of Africa-Europe Foundation Women Leaders Network

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the meeting of the Africa-Europe Foundation Women Leaders Network at the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly, in New York today:

It is a pleasure to be here on this panel with my sisters and fellow leaders to discuss how we can build momentum for the Conference of the Parties to the twenty-seventh session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) and beyond on critical matters.

We have 50 days left before COP27.  COP27 must be a COP of implementation of the many pledges we got in the past few years.  It must deliver concrete actions for African and other developing countries to help avert the climate crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  We are not there.

And yet we know what needs to be done:  First, we need investment plans pipelines of bankable projects that respond to country-driven priorities and plans based on the participation of all sectors and groups, in particular women and youth.  Second, we need support from public and private sources of finance, including multinational development banks.  These prerequisites can lead to partnerships that can drive action on adaptation and loss and damage issues, while meeting the needs of African countries to accelerate the renewable energy transition.

Climate change is a clear and present crisis.  One that is making its destructive presence known through droughts, fires, floods, and other extreme weather events. And as always, the most vulnerable communities and people are the worst affected.

Today, I want to highlight three priorities to scale-up the support for Africa on adaptation and loss and damage.

First, promises made must be delivered in full and on time.  We were told in Glasgow by developed countries that the annual $100 billion commitment will not be met until next year.  We need them to start delivering this year on their pledge to double adaptation finance to at least $40 billion without waiting for 2025.  Specific targets and timelines at COP27 will be the litmus test for these two pledges as the cornerstone of trust in the multilateral process.

Developed countries can start by delivering their contributions to the Adaptation Fund, which were announced with much media attention at the Conference of the Parties to the twenty-sixth session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).  Words must match action.  Today, the secretariat of the Adaptation Fund is still waiting for $230 million of the $356 million pledged.

Donors will also have to consider the substantial replenishments of the Green Climate Fund — starting from the current $10 billion floor — and of the African Development Fund of the African Development Bank.  This fund has supported bold adaptation action in the Sahel, the Great Green Wall, the Zambezi basin and the Horn of Africa.

Multilateral development banks must overhaul their models and increase their risk appetite to mobilize billions from the private sector.  There again, we got multiple pledges and very little action.

It is abundantly clear that investments in adaptation pay huge dividends on all sides.  Every dollar invested in adaptation can bring up to 10 dollars in net economic benefits.  It’s an investment that must be made.

Second, we must dispel the myth that adaptation is not “investment-ready”.  Through initiatives such as the Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator, launched at the request of the Secretary-General in June and the Regional Roundtables co-hosted by the United Nations, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change High-Level Champions and the COP27 Presidency we are demonstrating that collaboration among public and private financiers and developing countries must be the rule, not the exception, for how adaptation finance is delivered.

Third, there needs to be a space in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process for a serious discussion on loss and damage finance that will lead to concrete outcomes.  The many extreme climate events that we witnessed this year demonstrate that, in many places, we are well beyond adaptive capacities.

In Glasgow, countries reiterated the urgency of scaling up action and support for loss and damage and agreed on the need to operationalize the Santiago Network so it can effectively catalyse the technical assistance it was set up to do and created the Glasgow Dialogue.

Although these are important steps, they do not address the elephant in the room, countries who have not caused climate change are facing its worst impacts and need financial support.

That is why we will continue to support the calls for the creation, at a minimum, of a political space in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process to make time-bound decisions on loss and damage finance.

I welcome the proposed innovative approaches that the Africa-Europe Foundation has identified to potentially address solidarity funding at scale for loss and damage and invite countries to consider these and other approaches.

Finally, I want to highlight the importance of acting with urgency and scale.  Africa’s climate vulnerability is also its investment opportunity.  True collaboration and partnerships can make the most of this opportunity.

We don’t have a moment to lose.  Let’s work together.

For information media. Not an official record.