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Greater financial investment needed to combat climate change, UN Says

United Nations headquarters, New York City
United Nations headquarters, New York City

NEW YORK – The United Nations Secretary-General on Sunday called on the international community to step up its financial investment in technologies, policies and practices that can help combat climate change, adding that time is running out to address this global threat.

“Climate change is the single greatest threat to sustainable development. Yet too often, one important fact gets lost amid the fear: addressing climate change is one of our greatest opportunities,” Ban Kai Moon said at the annual meeting of the International Development Finance Club (IFDC) in Washington, D.C.

“With enlightened action, we can create jobs, improve public health and protect the environment.”

In his remarks, Mr. Ban underlined the role that the development finance community and the financial sector have in forging solutions to climate change. For example, large amounts of capital are needed to develop low-carbon infrastructure, and green enterprises need investments to close the gap between low-emissions and fossil-fueled based projects.

As the economic impact of climate change grows, more needs to be done, Mr. Ban stressed, calling on the IDFC to actively engage in next year’s Climate Summit, which will bring together Heads of State, global leaders from business, finance and civil society.

“Our goal is mobilize political will for the negotiations, deliver concrete new commitments and spark a race to the top in climate action,” he said. “I hope you will collectively use the 2014 Climate Summit to reach the goal of $100 billion-a-year for new climate finance commitments. I also encourage you to double your portfolio of adaptation financing.”

Mr. Ban emphasized that action from development banks would not just help make economies and financial institutions more climate-resilient, but would also inspire other financial actors to follow suit.

“Development banks have proven that smart public financing can spur local and international private sector investments and meet the growing demand for energy and climate resilience.

I urge you to do even more at the global and national level: by helping to open new markets… facilitate new business models and support entrepreneurs in the developing world where demand for clean investment solutions is greatest,” he said.

Mr. Ban later had lunch with members of the IDFC, and thanked them for their leadership and commitment to further strengthen collaboration between IDFC development banks and the UN system.

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