Vatican and R20 Austrian World Summit: Finance is key to tackling climate crisis

  • Article type Press release
  • Publication date 29 May 2019

If the world is to win the race against climate change, finance must be used to invest in clean energy in order to transition to a green economy and end global dependency on fossil fuels. 

"Financing is critical," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the R20 Austrian World Summit (AWS) yesterday. "That means reaching the goal, determined in Paris, of USD 100 billion per year, from public and private sources in developed countries, to advance mitigation and adaptation in the developing world. And it means a full replenishment and an effective functioning of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)."

"GCF's mandate is to increase access to finance for developing countries to scale up their climate ambitions," said GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec at the R20 AWS session on Mobilizing Investments by Green Finance.

Glemarec joined world leaders and influencers, including Jeffrey Sachs, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Greta Thunberg, this week in back-to-back events on the global climate crisis.

A day before R20 AWS, His Holiness Pope Francis held a meeting on climate change with finance ministers from various nations at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

"As the financial leaders of your nations, you have the responsibility of working to achieve the goals that your governments have adopted, for the sake of humanity today and in the future. This is a basic commitment," said Pope Francis, recalling the Paris Agreement, in his address to the ministers.

The President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, called on the finance ministers to commit to a whole-of-government approach to climate action and highlighted the need to work hard to mobilise climate finance and to support the ambitious and successful replenishment of GCF.

Glemarec emphasised that GCF has been defined to scale up climate action in developing countries and can support the ministers of finance in the implementation of the Helsinki Principles.

"It is my prayerful hope that, as stewards of the world's finances, you will agree upon a common plan that accords with climate science, the latest in clean energy engineering, and above all the ethics of human dignity. May your work with scientists, technicians and the peoples of your nations, especially the poorest, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement," Pope Francis said.