Climate Finance: It’s Talkshop Workshop Time!€¨

24 June 2019

ECO has always been a faithful attendee of the long-term finance workshops, and has sympathy for the working group set-up. This approach offers much more room for creativity and constructive exchange as, in theory, people do not need to hide behind their country’s flags. Of course, there isn’t exactly a lack of talkshops in this world, so ECO knows that the value of it heavily depends on how it will ultimately feed back into actual negotiations and sound agreements to advance the climate finance agenda. The good news is, each of the scheduled working groups offers potential to do just that. Let’s have a little look, shall we?

For instance, the first group will tackle the question of interlinkages between provided and mobilised finance and the temperature goals. It’s not rocket science to understand that the more we want to limit planetary overheating, the more we need to shift investment flows away from fossil fuels toward renewables, and the more much-needed assistance has to flow from developed countries to developing countries for enhanced climate action. And, ECO’s here to remind you that the less the world achieves this, the more financial assistance will be required to enable vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change and recover from losses and damages.

Among the issues to discuss in breakout group 2, ECO is most intrigued by the question of access to climate finance. It’s been much lamented that directly accessing climate finance through a national implementing entity often remains a challenge €“ despite the fact that implementing climate action through in-country entities (including local communities) is key to ensuring that institutional capacities are enhanced and that developing countries remain in the driver’s seat for making their countries climate-resilient. Group 2 could spend some time contemplating how to overcome existing barriers to direct access to climate finance.

When it comes to group 3 on climate finance effectiveness, ECO thinks an obvious step is to stop overseas coal financing and to stop the smug labelling of it as climate finance (Australia, Japan, are you reading this?). It is not only ineffective but actually counter-productive if you want to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5°C. Effectiveness in adaptation finance is another area of concern, for instance when it comes to ensuring that adaptation action reaches the poorest and most vulnerable peoples. These groups are often marginalised with little access to political decision making, so working directly with local communities and civil society organisations can cover the extra mile needed to achieve real change on the ground. And, if Parties are keen to enhance effectiveness of climate finance to assist vulnerable countries in recovering from losses and damages, a first step is to recognise that such flows are needed and the existing climate finance architecture still lacks a funding mechanism for that purpose. Remember the review of the WIM? It’s an excellent opportunity to ameliorate that situation.

Continuing on to group 4, ECO believes a good use of the biennial submissions on strategies and approaches would be to search them for information on barriers (and other experiences) that seem to be common in developed countries” efforts to ramp up climate finance in both scale and effectiveness. The common experiences that developed countries have highlighted over the past iterations of their strategies and approaches would be a great starting point to inform the forthcoming discussion on the post-2025 finance goal. ECO wonders if, instead of just another 100-billion type goal with all its shortcomings, a broader goal matrix might be a way to collectively set targets for various purposes. For example, setting targets for the provision of adaptation finance, elements related to removing barriers in increasing effectiveness, or identifying ways to enhance shifting financial flows to be compatible with below-1.5°C pathways, among others. This could enhance predictability not only related to volumes of finance but also of actions to deal with past experiences around implementing funded actions.

So, there’s a lot to talk about. ECO will be monitoring the workshop closely. Hopefully, it won’t be just another talkshop.

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