Drivers, needs and opportunities
The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the devastation caused by hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017, and climate strikes around the world in 2019 have all contributed to raised awareness of the climate emergency and opened up new windows of opportunity for engaging business and investment communities in the fight against climate change.
Driven by an existential need to keep temperature rises well below 2C and as close to “1,5 to stay alive” as possible, the OECS Member States aspire to demonstrate leadership by pursuing aggressive emission reduction targets. Significant funding gaps however remain and amplify the need for private investment to fund the transition to climate resilient economies that enable sustainable development while rapidly and effectively reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Expectations and realities of 2020
At the beginning of 2020, expectations were high for a crucial year of ever more urgent efforts to avert the worst effects of climate change as countries embarked on revising their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the climate commitments they made under the Paris Agreement in 2015. As gaps remain wide between scientific consensus on required action and the expected impact of commitments made, increasing ambition and ensuring effective, comprehensive, and rapid action, including in the private sector, is critical. This has not become any easier since the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic have taken center stage.
The urgency of the climate crisis however necessitates that efforts to respond to and recover from the pandemic do not jeopardize climate action. Emerging research, as well as emerging support, policy, and finance options, highlight the opportunities for harnessing the COVID19 induced crises to advance climate goals and underline the necessity to ensure a green recovery that advances sustainable, resilient, low-carbon development.
The case for private sector engagement in the NDCFI
As drivers of economic activity, private sector actors constitute an important source of GHG emissions, making them central to mitigation efforts. They make decisions that affect their own climate performance as well as that of others. They can act fast to mobilise resources, knowledge, and innovation, and to generate and mainstream products, services, business models, and management practices for resilient, low-carbon pathways. Their ability to bounce back from disasters such as hurricanes, as well as the impacts of a pandemic, is an important factor in the resilience of the economies of OECS Member States and has direct impacts on national recovery. Responsible and inclusive approaches to business continuity planning affect development priorities that rely on sustainable economic growth.
Nevertheless, deliberate private sector role in the implementation of NDCs remains limited, as does business awareness on NDCs more generally.
Advancing a non-traditional dialogue that includes governments, development partners, and the private sector
NDCs and related climate commitments cannot be implemented, increasingly ambitious climate goals cannot be achieved, resilience cannot be built, and a green recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic related crises cannot be achieved without decisive action in the private sector and effective engagement across all of society. Cross-sector dialogue, including the private sector, has therefore been a focus for the NDCFI from its inception. It is an important factor in accelerating climate action across OECS Member States, enhancing Caribbean climate leadership on the path to a resilient, low-carbon future, protecting lives and livelihoods in the face of ever fiercer climate impacts, and ensuring the pandemic induced crises are harnessed to advance the OECS’ green and blue economy agendas.
Private sector actors are key stakeholders under the NDCFI and the importance of their effective engagement to address climate change in the region is clear. The NDCFI has therefore developed a dedicated private sector strategy, initiated partnerships, and conducted activities to advance private sector engagement and action. For example, the NDCFI has partnered with GET.invest, an EU-funded support instrument for mobilizing renewable energy investments to pilot project preparation support for private renewable energy projects by the GET.invest Finance Catalyst service in 2019.
In pursuit of the NDCFI’s ambition to facilitate learning, build capacity, catalyze climate investment, and expand private climate financing, the NDCFI had also partnered with GET. Invest and the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) to jointly organise a Climate Finance Forum in 2020. While the Forum had to be postponed due to COVID 19, a commitment to offer a B2B Matchmaking session at the 2nd NDCFI Forum, hopefully in 2021, remains, and in the interim an initial virtual B2B session was held in July 2020. As part of the OECS Environmental Webinar Series, the NDCFI also hosted a webinar on Business in Climate: Partnering and Investing in Resilient Economies in May 2020.
Join the NDCFI community learn more and to get involved A non-traditional dialogue platform including governments, development partners, and the private sector.