Geneva Forum signals blended climate finance and circularity of critical raw materials in UNECE regions

By Charlotte Owen-Burge | October 19, 2022

The fifth and final Regional Finance Forum of 2022 concluded in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, 17 October, with a focus on unlocking finance for critical raw materials (CRMs).

The forum convened a variety of stakeholders from both the private and public sector in Europe and Asia and was hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Egyptian Presidency of COP27 and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.

As one of the greatest producers and consumers of energy and raw materials, promoting regional economic integration in climate finance action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is key in the UNECE region. In a recorded message during the forum, COP27 President-Designate and Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Sameh Shoukry said: “Egypt believes it is crucial to raise the threshold for needed action at COP27, through emissions reductions, scaled up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance. A number of impactful and implementable multi-stakeholder initiatives will also be launched at COP27, serving as tools through which all governmental and non-governmental actors can contribute to the efforts against climate change.”

Marking CRMs as a priority for countries of the pan-European region and North America, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27 and Egypt, explained: “A resilient, sustainable and ethical supply of Critical Raw Materials is essential for clean energy, mobility transitions, and digital transformation. We can’t afford to not act on CRMs, because the cost of inaction is much higher than the projects you will hear today.”

The forum underscored the need to triple renewable energy investment by 2050 to put the world on a net zero trajectory, whilst at the same time ensuring enhanced circularity in the use of CRMs. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, said: “A reliable CRM supply is essential to support sustainable development. As demand for CRMs grows, the new development projects must tackle challenges such as sustainable water and land use, waste disposal and social acceptance.”

Specifically, the UNECE-hosted panel on [working] ‘Towards a Common Environmental Social and Governance Framework for Critical Raw Material Value Chains’ showed that the implementation of ESG guidelines is going to be a determinant factor for attracting further domestic legislation and hence the mobilization of finance in the regional projects. Delegated pointed out there cannot be an energy transition without it being a financially managed and socially equitable. Representatives from both the private and public sector outlined that traceability and transparency in the value chains of CRMs must be improved, particularly with the awareness of increased demand for renewable energy and the necessary match on the supply side, to capitalize on the shared investment opportunity.

The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions are launching a compendium of projects presented and advanced during the five Regional Finance Fora, at COP27. This comes in addition to the extended list of projects based on regional priorities that will be made available coming out of the Fora. Read more about the priorities that should guide climate action at COP27 here.


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