Fri | Dec 3, 2021

Earth Today | Local pundits say yes to global finance flows for climate resilience

Published:Thursday | October 21, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Mclymont-Lafayette
Mclymont-Lafayette
Jones
Jones
A Bahamian army armoured vehicle drives past a devastated landscape in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, The Bahamas, in September 2019.
A Bahamian army armoured vehicle drives past a devastated landscape in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, The Bahamas, in September 2019.
A car is sunk in the wreckage and debris caused by Hurricane Dorian in McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, in September 2019.
A car is sunk in the wreckage and debris caused by Hurricane Dorian in McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, in September 2019.
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THE RECENT statement of Green Climate Fund (GCF) boss Yannick Glemarec that international finance flows “should particularly benefit developing countries, where the bulk of investment in low-emission climate-resilient infrastructure is to take place in the coming decades,” has found favour with local stakeholders.

Glemarec made the statement while addressing the GCF’s annual Private Investment for Climate Conference, hosted virtually over two days.

“That is something small islands would be happy to hear and welcome as countries that are highly vulnerable. We need all the financial support we can get to sustain our existence, so I think that is a welcoming statement,” noted Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, a long-time civil society advocate for climate justice and development communications professional.

“What I would want to see is the follow-through. Having also followed some of the climate-financing issues and the US$100 billion a year that was to be produced by 2020 … it is critical that many of the countries with the funding walk the talk,” she added.

Industry player Eleanor Jones was in agreement. She also noted the need for such financing to go towards adaptation in the developing world.

“What we really want to negotiate for is adaptation money – not that emissions are not important,” she said.

Small island developing states (SIDS), including Jamaica, are low emitters of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that fuel global warming – and with devastating climate-related consequences, such as extreme hurricane events.

With billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, together with the loss of lives and livelihoods, associated with extreme hurricanes in the region over recent years, adaptation to climate change is vital for SIDS.

Glemarec, executive director for the GCF, also noted that there are a number of barriers to climate innovation – from incubation through to deployment – that present a challenge to getting financial flows to developing countries.

“They include policy and regulatory risk, as well as technical and, above all, financial barriers, particularly the lack of access to affordable, long-term project finance,” he said in an October 19 news release from the GCF.

For Jones, developing countries, such as Jamaica, need to make changes to their internal processes in order to attract long-term project financing.

“We have to tune up ourselves and move beyond the bureaucracy involved in making these things work. We are not always results-oriented, and we need to determine what we want to achieve and set about doing that,” she said.

“This is a new day, and climate change is an existential threat that many people making decisions with respect to financing and short-, medium-, and long-term investments have not fully grasped. If you have a contract to install coastal protection because the coastline is falling into the sea and you are taking your own sweet time about it, what have you grasped?” added Jones, who is head of the consulting firm Environmental Solutions Limited and a member of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

For Mclymont-Lafayette, one of the ways to overcome the barriers identified by Glemarec is to take stock of best practices locally and globally.

“For example, the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) – and certainly Jamaica has implemented a number of those – has numerous lessons to be learnt, especially on climate finance and sustainable project funding,” she explained.

“The AP&FM (Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism) has funded over 300 small climate adaptation projects, and some of those really tried to get innovation at the community level. If we can find best practices that we can scale up, and put the mechanisms in place to scale up globally, we are on to something,” Mclymont-Lafayette added.

“Some of the PPCR projects also addressed policy barriers. For example, ensuring that policies around climate change are gender-inclusive and cater to marginalised groups. A part of overcoming is looking at the work that is being done and holding that up for replication and financing,” she said further.

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