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SG/SM/20973
14 October 2021

Calling $100 Billion Annually ‘Bare Minimum’, Secretary-General Urges More Investment to Ensure Green Recovery in Developing World, at Bretton Woods Institutions Event

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video remarks to the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) event on making climate action count, held today:

Excellencies, colleagues,

As [the twenty-sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26)] approaches, it is essential for all humanity that we fulfil the promise of the Paris Agreement.

That means reducing emissions by half by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by mid-century so we can limit temperature rise to 1.5°C from pre‑industrial levels.  It means providing and exceeding $100 billion a year to developing countries for climate action and shifting all financial flows to promote net‑zero emissions and resilient development.  And it means protecting people from the impacts of climate disruption and allocating at least half of all public climate finance to adaptation.

We are not there yet.  Despite some recent encouraging announcements, I remain especially concerned over the lack of progress on public climate finance.  Let us be very clear:  $100 billion a year from public and private sources for mitigation and adaptation for the developing world is the bare minimum.   Much more will be needed.

Development banks have an essential role to play:  We need you to spearhead the transition of energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables, while also ensuring universal access to energy.  You must lead the way in supporting credible just transition plans.  And you must marshal efforts to fund green, resilient and inclusive recoveries, without exacerbating the sovereign debt crises that cripple low- and middle-income countries.

It is essential to avoid entrenching developing countries in high-carbon, fossil‑fuel-intensive investments, with high stranded‑asset risks.  And critically, you must encourage private finance at scale.  Despite commitments made in Paris, and repeated every year since, leverage ratios of multilateral development banks are nowhere near what is needed for transformative impact.

Let me turn now to adaptation and resilience.  There are no other institutions better placed than development banks to fund adaptation needs.  If multilateral, regional and other public development banks do not lead on this front, no one will.  It is your responsibility to ensure that climate impacts will not jeopardize hard-won development gains.  Years of work and trillions of dollars in investments are at risk.

That is why I am asking donor countries and multilateral development banks to allocate at least 50 per cent of their climate finance to adaptation and resilience.

The clock is ticking.  The world is growing anxious.  We need your leadership.  I wish you a productive meeting.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.