FINANCE ministers of 20 climate-change vulnerable countries, including the Philippines, decided to develop and apply innovative fiscal measures to foster greater investment in climate resiliency.
These countries, dubbed as the “Vulnerable Twenty (V20),” represents close to 700 million people threatened by climate change and spanning world regions. The group held an inaugural meeting on Thursday (Friday in Manila) in Lima, Peru.
Besides the Philippines, the V20 includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.
In its first statement, the group called the response to climate change a “foremost humanitarian priority,” with the V20 committing to act collectively to “foster a significant increase” of public and private finance for climate action from wide-ranging sources, including international, regional and domestic mobilization.
In his opening speech, Philippines Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that in the absence of an effective global response, annual economic losses due to climate change are projected to exceed $400 billion by 2030 for the V20, with impacts far surpassing local or regional capabilities.
“Here in Lima, we unite for what we believe is the fundamental human rights issue threatening our very own existence today. Global climate action gives us hope that we can still see a future free from the most devastating effects of climate change,” he said.
V20 also voiced support for an international financial transaction tax to aid the mobilization of additional resources in the fight against climate change.
They also called for improved access to international climate change finance, the fulfillment of a $100-billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund, and acceleration toward a 50:50 balance in resources mobilized given the prevailing shortfalls in initiatives to adapt to climate change.
Finance ministers agreed to establish a sovereign V20 Climate Risk Pooling mechanism to distribute economic and financial risks, enabling participating economies to improve recovery from climate-induced extreme weather events and disasters and to ensure enhanced security for jobs, livelihoods, businesses and investors.
Modeled on similar regional facilities, the trans-regional mechanism would increase access to dependable and cost-efficient insurance while incentivizing scaled-up adaptation measures, they said.
The V20 countries also committed to develop or improve their financial accounting models and methodologies to enhance accounting of climate change costs, risks and response co-benefits in all their forms, while seeking a new international partnership to help realize the group’s aims.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the world needs stronger voices from developing countries to draw more attention to their great needs for investment in fighting the impacts from climate change.
“This new group of 20 countries, led by the Philippines, will play an important role in pushing for greater investment in climate resiliency and low carbon growth at home and internationally,” he added.
The V20 was created to promote climate finance mobilization, share and exchange best practices on economic and financial aspects of climate action, develop and implement improved and innovative approaches, and engage in advocacy and other joint actions.