SPECIAL COP22 – Standing Committee on Finance presents Biennial Assessment in Marrakech

The UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) presented its Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows at a special event on the first day of COP22  (Oct. 7). Some challenges and limitations were spotted by the committee during the work, mainly involving uncertainties associated with sources of data, but the results speak for themselves.

According to the report, following the recommendations made by the SCF in the 2014 Biennial Assessment, improvements were made by developed countries and international organisations. An increase of 15% in global total climate finance took place in 2013-2014, on a comparable basis, since 2011-2012. It corresponds to about USD687 billion for 2013 and USD741 billion for 2014.

But there is a long way to go, as underlined by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa at the presentation event. After mentioning the complexity but also the importance of gaining an overview over climate finance, she stated that whether the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals will be “a transformative reality” rather than just a promise mostly depends on reaching the needed level of financial flows.

Indicators shows how developed countries are mobilising towards the agreed USD100 billion per annum by 2020, and the report itself is a “an effort to provide greater transparency regarding public and private climate finance”, which is essential in order to boost financial flows even more. On the other hand, mitigation-focused finance represented more than 70% of the public finance in developing countries, as of 2013 and 2014, whereas adaptation finance accounted for only about 25% of the total finance. “More sustainable and predictable funding for adaptation going forward is urgently needed, including through the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund”, Espinosa affirmed.

Moreover, by UN estimates, SDGs (including climate-related ones) will need around USD5 to 7 trillion annually to be achieved: even if it’s just a snapshot in time, the assessment shows the gap between the current status and the financial effort required to “truly transform our social and economic reality”.

Espinosa repeated how the “scale is not yet commensurate with the challenge, including in terms of building resilience”. Policy and regulatory measures will be required to truly determine amounts of climate finance and to have a more sustainable and stable financial system. It’s also worth mentioning that even if current climate-related global financial flows are notable, their amount is still relatively small in the context of wider trends in global investment. “Too much finance is still flowing into high-carbon investments. That needs to change, with policy providing ever clearer signals to investors that low-carbon growth is our collective direction”, Espinosa stated.

The UNFCCC Executive Secretary said that getting the necessary changes right “urgently needs to be part of our collective focus, starting here in Marrakech” and expressed her hope that the report by the Standing Committee on Finance “will provoke much reflection on the many points it raises”.


(Image: Marrakesh, Morocco. Photo credit: Adam Tibbals / Flickr)