COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma has said he wanted to work in partnership with countries vulnerable to climate change to ensure easy accessibility to climate funds.
"One of the key issues is of course finance. And it is one of the top priorities of COP26 presidency," he said in the last of four virtual webinars of the UK-Bangladesh Climate Partnership Forum on Wednesday.
The webinar was chaired by Professor Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and Simon Maxwell, a senior research associate at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
The virtual series was organised by Mott MacDonald in partnership with the ODI on behalf of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the British High Commission in Dhaka.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. It is scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November this year under the presidency of the United Kingdom.
At the webinar, Alok Sharma highlighted three critical issues: getting finance flowing; improving the quality of that finance and increasing sums for adaptation, and making finance more accessible.
He highlighted practical ways to address those issues and noted that the UK has itself committed £11.6 billion for international climate finance (over the next 6 financial years) and is advocating for other donors to make commitments too.
Alok Sharma said, "As COP president I want to build relationship and to work with our friends in Bangladesh and other countries which are most vulnerable to climate change, and to make progress on the critical challenges that we all face."
"Unless we can get finance flow in, we cannot and unfortunately we will not see the action that we need. And that action is needed to reduce emission, to adopt and to rise to the growing challenge of losses and damages," he continued.
"A major challenge on finance is improving accessibility and we heard clearly the developing countries have told us the application process (to get money committed by developed country as compensation) are too bureaucratic and complex," he said.
Alok Sharma said in 2018, the least developed countries and Small Island states received just 14% and 2% respectively of total public climate finance.
"Climate finance is a central priority for the COP26 presidency and as hosts, we are calling on all donors to increase their financial commitments and play their part in delivering on our shared $100 billion goals," said Alok Sharma.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen attended the virtual dialogue and reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Bangladesh to build resilience to tackle climate change. He also sought the UK's cooperation for making finance more accessible to build resilience and amplify climate actions.
The Bangladesh foreign minister also called for setting up a separate global fund for climate migrants.
Apart from financing, the minister stressed on the transfer of technology, expertise and other relevant assistance to mitigate the impact of climate change.
"Bangladesh seeks support from the UK and other developed countries to ensure concessional finance and access to technology for all developing countries, and LDCs (least developed countries), especially due to the unprecedented socio-economic impacts of Covid-19," Momen said.
"We need another fund for climate migrants. Each year hundreds and thousands of people are being uprooted from their homes… country governments alone cannot cope with the costs of rehabilitation. Therefore the global leadership could come forward to create another climate migrant fund," he added.
Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, Bob Buhr, director of Green Planet Consulting Limited, Sam Evans, head of Natural Environment at Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Professor Mizan R Khan, deputy director of ICCCAD also delivered speeches at the webinar.
Atiur Rahman discussed green financing. Bob Buhr and Sam Evans spoke on business models of private and public investment, while Professor Mizan pointed out that developing and vulnerable countries are receiving grants as a form of loans. He termed this injustice and urged all concerned to simplify the application process to get grants from the Global Climate Fund.