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10th APFSD Side Event: Climate Finance in Asia-Pacific: From Resilient Infrastructure in Cities to Last-Mile Clients

29 March 2023 | CDP alongside UNCDF and UCLG ASPAC, as the host of GCoM Southeast Asia Secretariat, enacted the side event at the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD). This virtual roundtable discussion brought together a diverse group of representatives to examine the needs, opportunities, and solutions for financing climate action and clean energy in Asia-Pacific.

Ms. Hanah Paik (Asia Pacific Lead, Cities, States, and Regions, CDP) welcomed 57 participants from cities and local governments as well as development partners across the Asia Pacific. In her remarks, she showed the gap in climate financing in the Asia Pacific in which this region only receives 15% of global finance for climate projects despite the 60% global population residing. This problem hinders the transition toward a climate-safe community and economy. Since financing enables climate action, it is important to mobilise resources to solve this issue.

Representing the Solomon Islands was Mr. Allan Chris Siale (Provincial Secretary, Central Province of Solomon Islands). He acknowledged physical challenges where the geographical condition could hinder accessibility. In particular, the current impacts of climate change make people more prone to the impact, thus, emphasising the urgency of climate funding. Ensuring accessible sources, building the capacity of local government officials, and knowledge transfer are some of the measures to narrow the climate action discrepancies between urban and rural areas. Those measures should involve multistakeholder collaboration, affirm the sustainable development goals beyond 2030, create positive changes, and mobilise resources to leave no one behind, for a better future.

Moving on to the roundtable discussion, Ms. Asma Jhina (City Resilience and Climate Finance Advisor of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy or GCoM) moderated the session and set the context of gaps and needs of climate financing in Asia Pacific cities. She invited four speakers to join in the discussion.

The first speaker, Dr. Akhmad Mustain (Head of the Environment Department of Palembang City), explained the challenges of implementing climate financing in Palembang, South Sumatera, Indonesia. The city consists of 1.67 million people and has an increasing 2.5 million GHG emissions annually sourced from transportation, commerce, and industrial areas. He further explained several challenges in implementing the city’s Climate Action Plan: funding (renewable energy and green transformation), technology and innovation, stakeholder awareness, regulation, and human resources. Dr. Mustain emphasised how crucial funding support is for GHG emissions and he hoped that this occasion would provide the opportunity to gain more support.

From the perspective of financial technology (or fintech) company, Ms. Tiffany Tong (Co-Founder & CEO of Aloi, Nepal) shared Aloi’s initiatives on digital tools to accelerate clean energy and climate financing. The company supports informal sector enterprises to access financing on green facility procurements in accelerating clean energy transitions. She mentioned that financing access to local actors, such as farmers, has been an overlooked issue, which Aloi helps in bridging the gap and collaborating with local actors for accelerating climate actions.

Seconding previous speakers’ statements on the challenges the cities face to get funding for their climate actions, Ms. Justine Audrain (Senior Climate Finance Expert, GCoM) shared a thematic presentation on turning climate action ideas into bankable projects in cities and connecting to finance sources. She mentioned the objective of the bankable project is to provide further technical assistance to GCoM signatories in accessing climate funds and accelerating their paths to more advanced stages of project implementation.

Speaking on behalf of IDLC Finance, which is the largest non-banking financial institution in Bangladesh, Mr. Syed Javed Noor (Deputy Managing Director, IDLC Finance, Bangladesh) shared domestic savings mobilisation for SDGs achievement to explain opportunities for climate finance. He mentioned a success story where IDLC Finance managed to mobilise USD 20 million within six months to achieve SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), and SDG 14 (Life on Land). The project was also successful in identifying investors to invest in the country and mobilising the fund efficiently.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Vincent Wierda (Energy Lead of UNCDF) concluded the key points from the roundtable discussion. First of all, it is important to leave no one behind in the development process by involving multi stakeholders in an organised manner through various initiatives, such as Bankable Cities’ Climate Project by GCoM. Utilising resources efficiently shall be the agenda to tackle challenges in channelling climate funds for future projects. Creating the ecosystem to ensure the effectiveness of the initiatives that bring benefits to the economy, society, and environment and are practical at the local level is one of the best practices that are doable. The discussion was fruitful as it consisted of problem identification, measures through existing initiatives in closing the financing gaps, and a way forward of enhancing collaboration with local governments to ensure climate funding at the local level.

Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) is an annual, inclusive intergovernmental forum to support follow-up and review of progress on the SDGs at the regional level. The 10th APFSD was organised from 27 to 30 March 2023 under the theme “Accelerating the recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels in Asia and the Pacific” in Bangkok. Relevant stakeholders were invited to organise and co-organise side events as part of the APFSD.

Written by: Nicole Accalia Angriawan
Reviewed by: Rona Ikram Putri

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