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China Daily Global / 2023-06 / 26 / Page006

Big ideas, small steps at Paris summit

China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-06-26 00:00

PARIS — A new patchwork of pledges from the world's biggest development lenders has raised hopes the financial floodgates are finally starting to open in tackling climate change and poverty, but experts said far more was needed beyond fulfilling existing promises.

Last week's "Summit for a New Global Financing Pact" in Paris, organized by French President Emmanuel Macron, aimed to secure funding for climate action and the green transition, and to ease the post-coronavirus debt burdens of developing nations.

The event on Thursday and Friday was attended by more than 40 heads of state, including many from Africa, and the chiefs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, or IMF.

Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, executive vice-president of the African Center for Economic Transformation, said the summit had been effective in "putting to bed" a long-standing division between international funding for climate action and development aid.

The outcomes included a range of deals for individual nations, notably a debt restructure package for Zambia and a $2.7-billion "just energy transition partnership" for Senegal, and changes to the way the World Bank and the IMF operate, which will have a global impact.

Far from enough

However, Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and policy director for the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said far more was needed beyond fulfilling existing promises.

"While leaders at the Paris Summit acknowledged the significant shortfalls in climate finance and offered some new proposals, the event did not deliver the transformative breakthroughs that are desperately needed," she said in a statement.

"Global South leaders offered bold, innovative solutions but did not get the response they deserved from those in power."

Others lamented that industrialized nations had passed the buck in terms of providing more funding to those suffering on the front lines of a climate crisis they did little to cause.

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy for Climate Action Network International, said the summit's outcomes leaned too heavily on raising more money from the private sector and the coffers of multilateral development banks.

"Private investments often neglect adaptation efforts in developing countries and are inadequate to address climate-induced loss and damage," he said.

"Wealthier nations bear the responsibility of urgently funneling significant public finance toward vulnerable countries, a move that will aid them in weathering the escalating impacts of climate change and bolster their resilience. This is at the core of climate justice."


Climate activists stage a protest in the Place de la Republique on the sidelines of the Global Climate Finance Summit in Paris on Friday. MICHEL EULER/AP



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