Latest News, MEIG Highlights 8 avril 2024

Highlight 13/2024 – Perspective of the developing countries in the Mobilization of Climate Finance

Naznin Sultana, 8 April 2024

For decades, the world is experiencing the impacts of rising global emissions. The WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report shows that records were once again broken for Greenhouse Gas emission levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, Arctic sea ice cover melting and glacier retreat.

Addressing climate change necessitates collective action, globally. Significant part of it fundamentally lies in realising the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). From the perspective of developing countries, access to climate finance is not merely about providing robust and assured flow of finance but also about addressing systemic inequalities and historical injustices. To the contrary, the developing countries contend that the historical emissions by industrialized nations have primarily driven the climate crisis; and thus climate finance mechanisms should be determined based on the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities.

It is important to understand that Climate Finance is an enabling factor for the developing countries, especially for the climate vulnerable countries to respond to the climate change. The three key enablers for addressing both the causes and effects of climate change are finance, technology and capacity building. Ironically international, national and sub-national funding for climate actions remain more than inadequate. The growing gap i.e. between the needs and the support mobilized is alarming. This has also been highlighted in the COP28 outcome. The Adaptation Gap Report 2023 of the UNEP estimates that costs to adapt in developing countries are five to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows. Despite these needs, public multilateral and bilateral adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined by 15 per cent i.e. to US$21 billion (2021).

In order to make a real difference, the world leaders should converge on setting up ambitious targets on climate finance before it gets too late. The international financial architecture, including Bretton Woods Institutions need to be reformed to respond to the needs of the climate vulnerable countries. Climate finance should be adequate and accessible as also flexible for the climate vulnerable countries to access easily. At the same time, the developed countries must deliver on the pledged 100 billion US dollars annually up to 2025 and then set a new ambitious goal taking into account the needs of the developing countries. There should be a balanced i.e. 50-50 distribution between adaptation and mitigation financing from the international climate financing architecture; and be taken to enhance the ability of the climate vulnerable countries to access the funds easily. It needs to be ensured that climate finance reaches the most vulnerable community. In the same vein, efforts should be sustained to augment new and innovative sources of climate finance not just leaving to markets.The low-income developing countries should particularly get access to the newly operationalized “Loss and Damage” fund as soon as possible.  Developed countries should provide financial resources to the fund recognizing the needs of the developing countries. Multilateral development banks and other financial institutions should scale up their investments in climate action.  

Access to climate-resilient technologies, along with the necessary knowledge and skills to implement them, is particularly crucial for enhancing resilience to climate impacts. Capacity building efforts should focus on strengthening early warning systems, disaster preparedness, and sustainable adaptation strategies. The international partners should act in solidarity as the latest available science unequivocally calls for. 

As rising water reach around our feet and as heat waves continue to break (new) records, humanity is forced to recognise that the biggest challenges we face are no longer distant, but present and everywhere. No part of the developed world is immune even. We must effectively confront and address them collectively, on a war footing.

Naznin Sultana, Highlight 13/2024 – Perspective of the developing countries in the Mobilization of Climate Finance, 8 April 2024, available at

The views expressed in the MEIG Highlights are personal to the authors and neither reflect the positions of the MEIG Programme nor those of the University of Geneva.


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