UN climate finance event at COP21: Exploring the co-benefits of climate finance for development

By Alessia Valentini

On 8 December, at COP21, a side event on climate finance was led by UNDP with the support of IFAD, UNCDF, FAO, WHO, UN-OHRLLS, UNECA, UNECLAC, UNEP and IPCC. This event explored the lessons learned from the UN and member states on climate finance, particularly in delivering co-benefits for development. The discussion focused on actions needed beyond Paris to maximize the development effectiveness of climate finance for the broader post-2015 development agenda.

H.E. Mrs. Janine Felson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations and Lead Climate Negotiator of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), opened the event by explaining how this discussion is critical for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) where the impacts of climate change on sustainable development are extremely high. “We need to make sure that what is being delivered as climate finance is reaching those in need and, in particular, those least developed areas, such as the SIDS, that are particularly vulnerable”, said Ms Felson.

Michael Jacobs, Senior Advisor of The New Climate Economy, illustrated how countries at all income levels have the opportunity to build lasting economic growth and at the same time reduce the immense risk of climate change. “We live in a moment of great opportunity and great risk”, he said. The opportunity is in the expanding capacities of human intelligence and technological progress to improve the lives of the majority of the world’s people. 2.4 billion people still live on less than US$2 a day, and urbanization, rising consumption and population growth have put immense pressure on natural resources. “A lower-carbon pathway can bring about multiple benefits leading to higher productivity”, said Mr Jocabs.

Gernot Laganda, Lead Adaptation Specialist from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) presented IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme(ASAP). “Our main clients are those 2 billion rural people in the world whose lives depend directly or indirectly on agriculture,” said Mr Laganda. It is for them that IFAD is investing in better analysis of new and emerging climate risks in agriculture; technology, information and financing for better climate risk management; and scale mechanisms and pathways for sustainable management of landscapes and natural resources.