“What is inefficient, insufficient and unfair?” and the ‘1% For 1.5°C’ proposal

COP27 High-Level Champion for Climate Action, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin's speech at the closing event, COP27 Action Agenda: Progress & Priorities, which wrapped-up a two week programme of over 50 events. By High-Level Champion for Climate Action for COP27, Mahmoud Mohieldin | November 18, 2022

Your Excellencies, High-Level Climate Champion for COP26 Nigel Topping, Ladies & Gentlemen, let me begin by reminding you how we started the Global Climate Action Agenda at COP27 on Tuesday last week.

At our Opening Event “Making Good On Promises” I asked, “What is inefficient, insufficient and unfair?”

At the time, I was talking about climate and development finance, but I could have been talking about the current state of climate action across the board – about all the promises that have been left unfulfilled.

There is still a long way left to go, but I am pleased to say that there have been positive developments and signals in the last two weeks here in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

With the support of the Secretariat, the Marrakech Partnership, the climate action community, and the Climate Champions Team, we have made progress on several fronts:

For the first time at COP, we put youth at the heart of climate action with the Launch of The Children and Youth Pavilion.

  • Children and young people now have a dedicated space at COP alongside world leaders, ministers, prominent non-State actors and other delegates. It has amplified children and youth voices within global climate policymaking and we hope this continues for successive COPs.
  • Recognizing the power of children and youth, the HLCs also sponsored seven children, under the age of 17, at COP27 representing different regions and backgrounds to actively participate in the international climate agenda, and engage with relevant stakeholders and decision makers.

For the first time at COP – in close partnership with the Presidency of Egypt, under the serious call  of “Together for Implementation”, we put adaptation action at the forefront with the launch of the Sharm El Sheik Adaptation Agenda:

  • The Adaptation Agenda is the first comprehensive global plan to rally both States and non-State actors behind a shared set of 30 Adaptation Outcomes that are required by the end of this decade across five impact systems: food and agriculture, water and nature, coastal and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure, including enabling solutions for planning and finance. This Agenda is a powerful joint effort with the Presidency to focus on urgent adaptation solutions with an intention that it will be integrated as part of future COPs.
  • Meanwhile, the Resilience Hub – as the is the official home of the Race to Resilience – again brings together a dynamic, inclusive programme at COP27.

For the first time at COP, we brought together a global pipeline of implementable, financeable and investable projects for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies, covering all areas of adaptation and mitigation:

  • There is an urgent need to unlock climate finance through a massive mobilisation of public and private finance for climate action solutions at the local, national and regional levels. This would include actions needed to tackle the growing pressures on debt; domestic resource mobilization; the potential to tap the large pools of private finance; scaling up support from multilateral development banks and other development finance institutions; bilateral and multilateral concessional finance; and new and innovative financing instruments and solutions such as the use of SDRs, debt swaps, voluntary carbon markets and leveraging private philanthropy.

Furthermore, this would include also considering a set of de-risking tools to facilitate the translation of financial assets into financial flows.

  • Our new report, ‘Assets to Flows’ shows what it will take to convert financial assets into flows, derived from our series of Regional Finance Forums co-hosted by the COP27 Presidency, the UN Regional Economic Commissions, and the Champions.
  • Across these forums, over one hundred projects were presented requiring financing of approximately $120 billion, with this selection of projects having been derived from a list of over 450 projects.
  • There is a lot more funding required and more detail to add, but we will now be hosting these Forums annually alongside the UN Commissions

We put Africa and its people at the centre of COP action with a range of new initiatives, including the Africa Carbon Market Initiative (ACMI) and Africa Climate Risk Facility:

  • The launch of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Sustainable Energy for ALL, and UNECA will expand Africa’s participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets by setting an ambition for the continent and develop a roadmap of action programs that will be implemented over the next few years to meet that ambition. The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions are supporting partners in this initiative.
  • The Africa Climate Risk Facility is an initiative of The Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance (NDSI). Its signatories are committing to underwrite $US 14 billion of cover for climate risks by 2030. It’s the first time signatories have made this financial commitment.

Local initiatives

  • We launched an unprecedented local initiative, under the auspices of the President of Egypt, offering an example to be replicated regionally and internationally in future COPs every year.
  • Addressing the needs of the ordinary citizens in local communities, through building an investment map for all regions in Egypt, in a localised bottom-up approach.
  • Selecting the greenest and smartest of projects through a national competition, in six categories, affecting the different economic and social groups. Despite the tight timeline, applications were received for a total of 6281 projects. A total of 18 winning projects were selected, 3 from each category, spanning different sectors and governorates. And we hope to increase this number each year.

We are fully committed to ensuring integrity in everything we do:

  • We therefore welcome the recommendations of the Net Zero High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) convened by the UN Secretary-General. The High-Level Champions and Race to Zero community are pleased to see these recommendations very closely align with the Race to Zero’s criteria, consolidating the work which the Champions have been evolving over the last couple of years in collaboration with our Partners, the Expert Peer Review Group, and many others.
  • We are also pleased to see the report by The Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance commissioned earlier this year by the COP26 Presidency together with the COP27 Presidency and the High Level Champions. The report “Finance for Action: Scaling up investment for climate and development” includes important recommendations for scaling up long-term finance for developing countries including the need to integrate climate and development in a holistic manner; and we will make sure our work aligns with it accordingly.

The ‘1% For 1.5°C’ Proposal 

Finally, allow me to propose a transformational idea that could scale up climate finance and investments.

I will call it the the ‘1% For 1.5°C’ Proposal:

Different MDBs [multilateral development banks] should extend  concessional finance terms to low-middle, as well as low-income countries, – with 1% interest rate, a 10-year grace period, and a 20-year repayment period (for a total of a 30-year maturity period).

If this gets through, it could lead to a transformation in climate finance and investments in developing countries.

Only then would I say that climate finance would be  ‘efficient, sufficient, and fair’.

So, returning to my question, is climate action “inefficient, insufficient and unfair?”

As while there is still much more to be done, I do take confidence in what has been achieved in these last two weeks to turn the dial.

I also take confidence that it is by collaborating with the Parties – by bridging the work of non-State actors with governmental actions – that we can hope to significantly accelerate progress on climate and all the Sustainable Development Goals.

And I hope then that we can indeed make climate action ‘efficient, sufficient, and fair’.

Watch the full event here

Read more: COP27 Action Agenda: Progress & Priorities

Watch Dr Mohieldin’s speech here



UN Climate Change High-Level Champions: Contribution of the ‘All of Society’ Global Climate Action Agenda at COP27

The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions have taken stock of the contribution of non-State actors at COP27 with their closing event – COP27 Action Agenda: Progress & Priorities – wrapping-up a two week programme of over 50 events.