With the growing climate uncertainties and mounting financial needs for climate adaptation and mitigation, member countries across the Commonwealth are keen to see businesses take up a greater role in the fight against climate change.
An official side event co-organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Governments of Saint Lucia, Namibia and Zambia at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) was held in Egypt this week on 10 November to tackle the issue.
Senior government officials, international experts and members of the business community discussed ways to “unlock” private sector finance to bolster climate action in small and other vulnerable countries.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, outlined the challenge:
“To address the impacts of climate change and meet ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero, we will need an estimated US$4 trillion each year by 2030. This includes unprecedented investment for the deployment of technologies to speed the energy transition.
“Yet climate finance flows in 2021 reach around US$632 billion: just a sixth of what is required. We cannot fill this gap without the private sector.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training of Saint Lucia, Shawn Edward, highlighted the devastating climate disasters that small island states recurrently face – and the vast amounts of debt that governments must accrue to finance recovery efforts.