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Media Center > Speeches > HON PM BAINIMARAMA AT THE OPENING OF THE ONE PLANET SUMMIT IN PARIS, FRANCE

HON PM BAINIMARAMA AT THE OPENING OF THE ONE PLANET SUMMIT IN PARIS, FRANCE

12/14/2017
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bula vinaka, bonjour and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be here in Paris for this landmark One Planet Summit, marking the second anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement, and just three weeks after the conclusion of COP23.

Excellencies, I want to briefly convey my assessment as COP President of the challenge we face to rapidly scale up global finance to confront the crisis of climate change. While the challenge is great, we must do everything in our power to meet it. We know it is the difference between life and death for millions of vulnerable people around the world. It will impact every country, rich or poor. So this is an important milestone in our fight to preserve, and also improve, the quality of human life as we know it on our One Planet.

At COP23, I was encouraged by the focus, commitment and energy the world displayed to meet this challenge. I was especially struck - and at times moved - by the enthusiasm in the "Bonn Zone", where national governments were joined by local and regional governments, civil society and the private sector - stakeholders from all over the world. This is where our concept of a Grand Coalition for decisive climate action really came to life.

And we must do everything we can here in Paris on this important anniversary to build on the momentum we saw in Bonn. To harness that spirit of determination and sense of opportunity to make our planet more sustainable and more prosperous.

Excellencies, if there is one thing we all know, it is that global financial markets respond to opportunity. And it is our job to seize this moment to accelerate the profound shift that is already taking place in global investment, away from the dirty economies of the past towards the new, better, smarter, cleaner economies of the future.

As COP23 President, Fiji is working hard to promote our Grand Coalition and deliver on the promise of Paris. As I keep stressing, we are all in the same canoe. We are all vulnerable and we all need to act. And as President Macron has said, there is no “planet B”. We have only One Planet to call home and now is the time to move forward together to save it.
So friends, in the short time I have today, I would like to make four key points:

1. First - we need better access to the public finance that is being mobilised through the formal mechanisms of the UNFCCC, including the Green Climate Fund. The financial pledges made need to flow faster through a less bureaucratic and more streamlined system and make a real difference on the ground.

2. Second - we must recognize the essential role of private finance and bring together both public and private climate finance. There are trillions of dollars sitting with private investment institutions, pension funds, investment banks and insurance companies. And they are all looking for opportunities to earn a return on these funds. We must unlock that finance for our common cause. We must encourage them to accelerate the trend towards investments that contribute to solving the climate crisis.
While there has been encouraging progress to date, the private finance that has supported climate solutions has been largely at the project level, and not broader institutional investment. We need to think about how to build the new asset classes that institutional investors can invest in at scale.

3. Third - public and private finance is moving away from fossil fuels towards climate-smart investment opportunities. This is an important trend and it is evolving very rapidly. We saw at COP23 the work of the Global Alliance to Power Past Coal. But we need to ensure that as the global financial community moves away from dirty investments, it has viable and scalable clean alternatives into which the money can flow. And these alternatives need to be robust and reflect the level of risk and expectation on future returns that the system demands.

After all, when we talk about tapping into the vast amounts of institutional capital for climate solutions, we are largely talking about the retirement savings of ordinary, hard working citizens. And we need to honour their expectation of being good stewards with their money.

4. Fourth - governments and the private sector must work together like never before with a sense of urgency and caution to unlock the trillions of dollars of private sector capital that can be mobilised to solve this challenge. The major financial markets of the world -- New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, Tokyo, and others, have the capacity and all the players needed to direct more than enough capital towards this problem. The governments of the major economies of the world must act in concert with these markets to make it happen. For their part, these governments can create the regulatory environment and financial incentives for public and private capital to flow towards implementing climate solutions -- and specifically towards implementing more ambitious country NDCs under the Paris Agreement. The major economy governments and large public institutions can also play a critical role in scaling up private sector climate finance by helping to reduce the risk of such investments.

Excellencies, we need to ensure that all nations and especially developing countries have in place the necessary laws, governance and investment policies to encourage private investment to flow in a way that finances NDC implementation and adaptation.

For a start, we need to complete the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement on time. And I am encouraged by - and thankful for - the progress made at COP23 towards that end, and look forward to working with our Polish friends for a successful COP24.

We also need 21st century policies to reflect the 21st century economy. We need to rethink current subsidies, tax policies and how we price risk in the markets, and this must all be updated and upgraded.

We need to use public finance to remove the barriers to entry for the private sector and reduce the private cost of financing climate investments. Governments can co-fund activities with a willingness to take a lower "concessional" rate of return. And, as I mentioned earlier, governments and public institutions can help to de-risk investments by providing financial guarantees, first loss facilities, or credit rating support.

Excellencies, I am sure there are other good ideas that will be discussed at this Summit, and are being tested in boardrooms and classrooms around the world. We need to listen as much as we talk.

I want to close by stressing that money and capital is not the challenge we face. We have sufficient financial resources in the world to transform our economies, reduce global emissions, enhance resource productivity, build more resilient infrastructure, protect forests and regenerate degraded land. What we lack is the right incentives, policies and investment environments for investors to redeploy their private capital.

Excellencies, this is our challenge. And we must put our global financial system on the correct course to meet it. So let us all embrace with purpose the transformation we must make so that climate finance is available to reduce harm and increase the prosperity and security of those who need it most. One Planet. One future.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.
 
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