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By Bitange Ndemo and Irene Kiti

Climate financing has been a critical and ongoing topic of discussion among nations for several decades as the urgency to combat climate change and its devastating effects continues to grow. It is widely recognized that developing countries require financial assistance and technology transfer to address climate change and its impacts effectively.

The recent conclusion of the New Global Financial Pact held in Paris has left the international community with mixed feelings of hope and disappointment. While some anticipated that rich nations would honour their promises this time, others express frustration over the lack of concrete action against the primary polluters, particularly the fossil fuel industry, mainly responsible for the current climate crisis. Instead of honouring the earlier pledge of $100 billion to developing countries, rich nations have made another pledge of $200 billion in loans from multilateral development banks, raising concerns.

Given the proverbial saying “once beaten, twice shy,” there is a pressing need to explore alternative means of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Developing nations, especially those in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, are acutely aware of the urgent need for collective action to address climate financing challenges. These countries can pool their resources, leverage their collective strengths, and foster sustainable development across their respective regions.

The African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group of States share many commonalities regarding climate change impacts, making them an ideal collective power with a common voice within the international community. ACP countries, particularly those in the Caribbean and Pacific regions, often face heightened vulnerability to climate-related hazards. Many of these nations heavily rely on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and forestry sectors, which are highly sensitive to climate variations.

Extreme weather events, changes in precipitation patterns, and rising sea levels can disrupt these sectors, reducing productivity, income losses, and increased economic instability. Moreover, many ACP countries have extensive coastlines, making them particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and coastal erosion. As the impacts of climate change continue to worsen due to unforeseen factors, the call for an action-driven ACP Joint Coalition for Climate Financing becomes even more urgent.

African and ACP nations must first identify common climate financing objectives to initiate the coalition. These objectives should include mobilizing domestic resources, promoting sustainable investments, and addressing shared climate challenges. These nations need to align their goals with consolidating their efforts and presenting a unified front in advocating for adequate climate financing.

Mobilizing domestic resources within the coalition allows countries to prioritize sustainable practices and allocate funds toward climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. This includes investing in renewable energy sources, promoting energy efficiency measures, and supporting green infrastructure projects. By demonstrating the potential for economic growth and job creation through sustainable investments, the coalition can attract private-sector financial flows that support both climate goals and sustainable development objectives. Leveraging the ACP’s financial institutions, such as banks, to support these countries efforts in developing a climate financing package tailored to their needs and implementation capabilities is crucial.

Addressing shared climate challenges is paramount for the coalition to collectively tackle the adverse impacts of climate change through a domestic multi-stakeholder approach that is actionable and palatable for the Global South. By coordinating efforts and sharing knowledge, the coalition can develop innovative solutions and strategies to build resilience and adapt to the changing climate. This may involve implementing early warning systems, investing in climate-resistant infrastructure, and promoting sustainable land and water management practices, while also fostering Public-Private Partnerships.

Bringing together public sector entities, private investors, and development finance institutions in ACP states within a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework can help structure and finance large-scale climate projects. PPPs facilitate sharing risks, resources, and expertise, attracting more investment into climate-related sectors.

Once the shared objectives are established, the coalition can develop a joint framework or memorandum of understanding (MoU). This framework should articulate the coalition members’ shared vision, principles, and commitments. It should also include mechanisms for coordination, decision-making processes, and resource allocation.

Within the joint framework, the coalition can outline collaboration and information-sharing guidelines. This includes establishing communication channels and platforms that facilitate the exchange of experiences, best practices, and lessons learned. By fostering knowledge sharing, member countries can benefit from each other’s experiences and expertise, enabling them to implement effective climate financing strategies.

The joint framework should also emphasize the importance of inclusivity and equitable representation within the coalition. It should promote the participation of all member countries, considering their unique circumstances and challenges. By ensuring fair representation, the alliance can foster a sense of ownership and collective responsibility among its members, leading to more impactful climate financing outcomes.

A robust governance structure is crucial to the success of the coalition. It would guarantee fair representation and participation of all member countries. One possible approach is to create a secretariat or coordinating committee responsible for managing the coalition’s activities, coordinating joint initiatives, and facilitating effective communication among member states. This governance structure will foster inclusivity and ensure that the alliance functions efficiently and effectively.

The Secretariat or coordinating committee could oversee the implementation of the joint framework, monitor progress, and evaluate the impact of climate financing initiatives. It could also blend the allocation of resources and track the flow of funds to ensure transparency and accountability. The governance structure can foster dialogue and consensus-building among member countries through regular meetings and consultations, enabling effective decision-making and collective action.

The coalition could explore mechanisms for pooling resources and sharing best practices in climate financing. By creating a joint fund, member countries can combine their financial contributions and attract additional investments from willing partners, including the private sector. This collaborative approach will enhance the coalition’s financial capacity and enable it to implement impactful climate projects.

Furthermore, sharing experiences and lessons learned among member countries will allow for the replication of successful financing models, accelerating progress toward sustainable development. The coalition could establish platforms for knowledge exchange, such as workshops, conferences, and online forums, where countries can showcase their innovative approaches and success stories in climate financing. By learning from one another, member countries can overcome common challenges, avoid potential pitfalls, and optimize the use of resources.

Through the joint coalition, ACP nations can enhance their bargaining power on the global stage. By uniting, these countries can negotiate from a position of strength. ACP nations can demonstrate their commitment to addressing the global climate crisis through an action-oriented approach and inspire positive change worldwide.

The ACP States must break the pattern of discussions and conditional financial packages on climate change and transition towards tangible action spearheaded by nations that strongly feel and bear the brunt of the climate impacts. It is high time for ACP countries to act as one and break away from decades of empty promises. ACP countries must leverage their common but indistinguishable capabilities to achieve meaningful progress in climate financing and sustainable development.

Bitange Ndemo is Kenya’s Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union Mission.

Irene Kiti is a Second Secretary at the Kenya Mission in Brussels.

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