The Green Climate Fund (GCF) will “refine and sharpen” its support for developing nations’ climate ambition amid alarming signs of the increasing threats of climate change, GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec informed GCF’s largest gathering yet of its partners today.
“July 2019 was the warmest month on Earth since at least 1850,” he told 125 developing country representatives, including 50 ministers, among over 500 participants during the opening session of the five-day GCF Global Programming Conference.
“It was the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared. In response to the climate crisis, developing countries are rapidly raising their climate efforts to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable.”
To meet the rising ambitions of developing countries to tackle climate change, Mr Glemarec vowed GCF will hone its flow of climate finance strategically through partnerships which best match national needs, and called on global support for GCF during its first replenishment this year.
“To support this call, we must develop a robust strategy and ambitious programming plans. We must demonstrate together that GCF is fit-for-purpose to help your economies withstand and adapt to the impacts of climate change, while also significantly reducing emissions that further exacerbate climate change,” he said.
The conference comes at a key time for GCF as it garners global support for replenishment. Teuea Toatu, Vice President of Kiribati, a particularly vulnerable small island state on the frontline of climate change, stressed the need for others to support GCF replenishment during the conference opening.
“I call upon and challenge the developed countries to broaden their vision and scale up their contribution towards replenishing GCF,” he said. “This urgency is made even more critical by the IPCC special report that we are nowhere near the 1.5 degree target as stipulated by the Paris Agreement.”
Amina J Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General, reiterated calls for an ambitious and successful GCF replenishment during a video greeting during the opening session.
Later in the day, Ban Ki-Moon, former UN Secretary General, emphasised the importance of GCF in meeting a global commitment to mobilise USD 100 billion of climate finance for developed countries annually by 2020.
“2020 is just a few months away, and I’m deeply concerned by the level of the ambition shown by the world leaders,” he said.
Mr Ban also emphasised the importance of taking a “two-pronged approach” to combining measures to help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change as well as lowering global emissions. He also called for particular attention to be paid to nations such as Kiribati which, by an “issue of cruel irony,” are the most vulnerable to climate change while they are least responsible.
Also addressing the conference opening session were Koo Yun-cheol, Vice Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea, and Park Nam Choon, Mayor of Incheon, the host city of GCF.
GCF will learn from the five days of conference discussions, covering a broad variety of climate action themes, to ensure it best matches growing developing country ambition by crafting strategic and impactful approaches to climate finance.