COP 23 – Private Sector Engagement Critical to Combat Climate Change

Meeting: Enhancing Resilience of and Crowding in Public and Private Investment for Climate Change Adaptation

Date/Location: November 8, 2017, 10:30 – 12:00, UNDP Pavilion – Bonn Zone, COP 23

Speakers: Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head of Climate Change Adaptation, Global Environmental Finance Unit, UNDP; Head of Environmental Protection Department of Bosnia; Representative of Malawi; Representative from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

Written By: Marli Kasdan

Over the last two weeks at COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, one consistent theme was the need to harness private sector investment in order to meet the ambitious goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The UNDP pavilion held a side event on how different types of private sector actors can and should be included in the climate change adaptation agenda. The meeting began with Mr. Kurukulasuriya from UNDP giving opening remarks about the need to harness private sector engagement to combat climate change, with a focus on the reality that the climate change problem cannot be solved with public money alone. A stable policy environment and governments who are willing to actively engage with private sector actors can help leverage private finance and pave the way for larger funding streams to come into developing countries to be used for climate change adaptation.

The Head of the Environmental Protection Department of Bosnia continued the discussion by emphasizing that bringing in private sector finance for climate change adaptation should be linked with the broader Sustainable Development agenda in order to engage with private sector actors who may already be involved with sustainable development but have not yet realized the benefits of working in the climate change area. Furthermore, the Representative of Malawi spoke about how the private sector can engage with local actors to produce technology driven climate change adaptation solutions. In Malawi, an effort is underway where mobile phone operating companies are working with the agricultural sector to use telecommunication services to disseminate information for early warning systems that track climate induced hazards which affect farmers, such as droughts. Malawi has policies in place that create an enabling environment for private sector investment in climate change adaptation strategies, and it presents a good example of how country governments can engage with the private sector to find solutions to climate change challenges.

The meeting concluded with a representative from FAO speaking about FAO’s work with farmers, fishermen, and rural entrepreneurs. An emphasis was made surrounding the gender gap in the private sector, and how women’s enterprises are valuable private sector actors. Overall, this event highlighted the need for private sector investment for climate change adaptation, and demonstrated that governments working with private sector actors, such as the telecommunications companies in Malawi, can produce innovative solutions to meet climate change adaptation challenges.

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