Developed countries urged to honor climate commitments

This file photo shows United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attending a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not in frame) following their talks in Moscow on May 12, 2021. (MAXIM SHEMETOV / POOL / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on developed countries to honor their commitments to helping the developing world with climate mitigation and adaptation.

"I am keenly aware that developing countries need reassurance that their (climate) ambition will be met with much-needed — and still lacking — financial and technical support," Guterres told the first Climate Vulnerable Finance Summit hosted by Bangladesh.

To rebuild trust, developed countries must clarify now how they will effectively deliver US$100 billion in climate finance annually to the developing world, as was promised over a decade ago, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said

To rebuild trust, developed countries must clarify now how they will effectively deliver US$100 billion in climate finance annually to the developing world, as was promised over a decade ago, he said in a video message.

"Solidarity begins with the US$100 billion. We need a clear plan for this goal from now until 2025. I will be emphasizing this to G20 finance ministers tomorrow," he said.

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Their support to developing countries in the short term will either facilitate low-carbon, climate-resilient recovery, or it will entrench them in high-carbon, business-as-usual, fossil fuel-intensive investments, with high stranded asset risks, he warned. "We cannot let this happen."

Guterres also called for a breakthrough in climate adaptation.

Just 21 percent of climate finance goes toward adaptation and resilience. That is US$16.7 billion a year. Yet current adaptation costs for developing countries are US$70 billion a year, and this could rise to as much as US$300 billion a year by 2030, he said.

"We must achieve a balanced allocation for mitigation and adaptation. I am calling for 50 percent of climate finance globally from developed countries and multilateral development banks to be allocated to adaptation and resilience in developing countries. And we must make access to climate finance easier and faster."

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To get the world back on its feet, to restore cooperation among governments and recover from the pandemic in an inclusive, low-carbon, climate-resilient manner, there is a need to support developing countries to deliver on their high ambition, he said.