CDB President, UNFCCC calls for increased climate finance amid Paris talks

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2023, 12:12 by Denis Chabrol

GROS ISLET, St Lucia, June 21 (DW).- President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon on Wednesday said the international community should provide increased climate finance as well as the private sector should play a major role in investment and finance in the region.

“We must unlock private capital for the Region and mobilise private sector financing but to do this we must reimagine our relationship with the private sector.,” he said his address to close the 53rd CDB Annual Board of Governors meeting in St Lucia.

He later told Demerara Waves Online News that the Barbados-headquartered CDB was targeting the international capital markets, international financial institutions and the private sector to mobilise development and capital  financing.

“I’m calling for not just soft finance for climate. I’m asking for financing for the entire development agenda one part of which is climate finance because climate is one of the many things that we need to address and, in particular, in the climate space given that we have to address not only mitigation, adaptation, potentially impact from loss or damage but also preparedness from a disaster management aspect,” said Dr Leon who has worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for which he had served in high-level positions in several African, Middle East and Caribbean nations.

In his closing remarks, the CDB President said the region needed to scale up and strengthen support for tackling climate change, including increasing the volume of climate finance. “We must be at the forefront of helping our countries to build resilience coupled with improving disaster risk finance and having an innovative and flexible mechanism to assist in the case of natural disasters,” he said.

Dr Leon issued the call for more money to fight climate change and its adverse impacts- floods, droughts, storms, food insecurity and infrastructural destruction- as more than 50 world leaders were holding talk in Paris on how to raise at least US$3 billion annually by 2030 to help developing nations, except China, scale up climate investments. Barbados itself is spearheading that campaign with a position paper.

The regional development bank, he said, must champion the development of policies designed to drive fit-for-purpose investment activities and enhance implementation capacity of our Borrowing Member Countries.

He also cited the need to continue through collaborative advocacy to foster a paradigm shift in the international financing system, emphasising the need to measure better, build resilience, and adopt better measures for sustainable development.

Also calling for significant climate financing was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr. Simon Stiell. He said more monies should be pumped into climate finance “this year” as well as a “roadmap for unlocking significantly more finance between now and the end of the decade.”

He  called for all-round immediate action “right now” to provide climate finance at home and abroad because “to take action you need finance as an enabler”, even as he lamented that progress was being retarded. “There are countries within the negotiating arena who see it as their role to hold up progress in the negotiations and refuse to take action at home, until sufficient finance is delivered to support it. There are others who refuse to provide all the finance promised, until they see ‘meaningful action’ is being taken elsewhere,” said Mr Stiell, a former Grenada Minister for Climate Resilience and the Environment