‘Vulnerable 20’ countries will share economies to fight climate change

Finance ministers representing over 700 million people have announced a series of financial mechanisms to invest in climate resiliency and lower emissions for 20 of the world's most vulnerable countries.

Representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam form the Vulnerable Twenty (V20).

The V20 held its inaugural meeting today (8 October) in Lima, Peru, where the nations together committed to “foster a significant increase” of public and private finance for climate action from wide-ranging sources.

Shock survival

Speaking at the meeting, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Finance Cesar Purisima said: “In the absence of an effective global response, annual economic losses due to climate change are projected to exceed $400bn by 2030 for the V20, with impacts far surpassing our local or regional capabilities.

“Climate shocks even threaten the very survival of a number of the low-lying island nations among us. The V20 will henceforth act to catalyze attention on economic and financial responses to climate change through the cooperative efforts of us the economies most systemically vulnerable to this global phenomenon.”

The ministers have also thrown their weight behind a $100bn commitment to fight climate change made by richer nations six years ago, as well as supporting an international financial transaction tax, aimed at gaining access to 50% of any additional resources to help countries combat climate change.

‘Serious barriers’

The V20 has also established a sovereign Climate Risk Pooling device, which will distribute potential climate-related economy risks to other V20 countries; to ensure enhanced security for jobs, livelihoods, businesses and investors in an attempt to tackle a “foremost humanitarian priority”.

V20 countries have committed to develop and improve on financial accounting models to provide greater insight into climate change costs, in the hope of creating new international partnerships to ease the burden of the group’s aims.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark said: “Financial constraints do put up serious barriers for climate action exposing millions to disaster and hardship. We believe the V20’s vision to deploy innovation in finance, based on shared experiences, has great potential to knock just such barriers right down.”

Following the event in Peru, a working group of members from V20 will begin implementing a drafted action plan and will report the progress at the UN Climate Change Conference at Paris (COP21) later this year.

The implementation of the plan beyond Paris will provide a huge boost to the countries which actively need to fight climate change. A recent report from World Resources Institute claimed that by 2040 33 countries would be at severe risk from a lack of water and over-population.

Matt Mace

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