The time when developing countries thought of environmental issues as something only the North needed and could afford to worry about is well behind us. A number of trends are driving this. Global issues such as climate, energy, food, water, material prices and the impacts of aging, urbanization and wealth increase are all affecting the economic, social and environmental prospects of countries around the world.
The Paris agreement should provide a meaningful answer to tackle climate change challenges through adequate mitigation. The Paris summit must lay the ground for a solid process to formulate, discuss and finalize the next round of mitigation commitments. One critical issue in Paris will be climate finance. Leaders at COP 21 need to agree a way forward on finance to support developing and emerging countries.
First, developed countries need to take steps to show commitments to support developing countries through public finance. The role of the private sector is also crucial. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on using public finance to leverage private capital and build policy incentives for directing private finance to developing countries.
Second, increasing political commitment to environmental issues is essential. It is important for governments to realize that the transition to a green pathway is becoming financially viable and there is a need to provide frameworks for green growth that can lower policy barriers.
Third, technology, at present, is not making its way into the market to effectively assist developing countries. This is partly because the costs are too high, the risks are too great or the markets are too small. These are a set of challenges faced by investors. Besides this, developing countries don’t have an adequate understanding of the technologies that are available and how, and in what ways, those technologies could be applied to their countries. So it is crucial to create a conducive regulatory environment for technology transfer and to build the necessary capacity to deploy it.
Last, it is critical to develop bankable project proposals that translate environmental propositions into a comprehensible language for investors and take those proposals to the financial institutions that can finance project implementation. The Global Green Growth Institute, the organization I work for is a good example. We work with governments to help them achieve their growth goals of real inclusive and sustainable change for their people and the environment and help countries to develop green growth plans that are “bankable” – projects that meet investor criteria and that will be implemented. We are a member-based international organization founded to support developing and emerging countries in exploring how green growth can help achieve economic growth and development objectives. We are conducting 37 programs in 22 countries. We begin by doing an assessment of what green growth would mean for them and assess the risks and opportunities related to green growth. We then work with countries to implement strategies in four main areas: energy, cities, water and land use.