Financing climate action is not a debt sentence, but an investment opportunity. This was the central message of Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda, during his active participation at COP28 in Dubai.
Mohieldin emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach that sees climate action as integral to sustainable development. He called for national platforms and partnerships to finance and implement climate action at all levels, while ensuring nationally determined contributions reflect on-the-ground realities and translate into actionable strategies.
A key theme throughout his interventions was the importance of debt swaps. He praised international efforts to establish platforms for debt swaps, highlighting their potential to alleviate burdens on developing countries and drive investment in nature and climate. He commended Bangladesh’s platform as a model for collaboration between governments, the private sector, and financial institutions.
Mohieldin stressed the need to move beyond debt as the primary means of financing climate action in developing countries. He advocated for climate justice and urged the development of frameworks and mechanisms to activate debt swaps for nature and climate investments.
Rapidly reforming international financial institutions and multilateral development banks was another crucial point. He called for increased capital, improved financing policies, and a focus on reducing investment and financing risks to attract greater private sector participation.
The Regional Platforms for Climate Projects Initiative emerged as a beacon of hope. Mohieldin highlighted its success in bringing together diverse stakeholders and facilitating deals for promising projects. He lauded the initiative’s “From Assets to Financing Flows” report for identifying funding gaps and proposing solutions to accelerate climate project financing.
Africa, with its vast potential for climate solutions, received special attention. Mohieldin emphasized the critical role of partnerships in financing and implementing African projects. He cited the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero Emissions (Giffans Africa) as a model, applauding its work on regional platforms, debt swaps, and the African Carbon Markets Initiative.
In conclusion, Mohieldin’s message at COP28 was clear: debt swaps, public-private partnerships, and reformed financial institutions are not just tools, they are pathways to a climate-resilient future. He urged the private sector to seize the investment opportunities in Africa and beyond, recognizing that climate action is not a burden, but a shared responsibility and a lucrative opportunity for all.