Why intermediary cities are vital to breaking dependency on high carbon development

By Dr Michael Lindfield, Senior Consultant and Dražen Kučan, Urban and Energy Efficiency Sector Lead (Green Climate Fund)

More than two thirds of the global population are expected to reside in cities by 2050. Urbanisation offers unprecedented risks and opportunities with respect to the global response to climate change. Cities and urban infrastructure are one of four global systems (others are energy, land and ecosystems and infrastructure) that are key to reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and limiting long-term global warming levels to less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cities represent at least 58% of direct global emissions – 18% of all global emissions came from just 100 cities in 2017 – and constitute at least 21% of the potential for direct global emission reduction.  

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The Mediterranean hotspot

By Grammenos Mastrojeni, Senior Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean

Oceans and seas (henceforth used interchangeably) absorb over 90% of the additional heat generated by the greenhouse effect and then gradually release it across the planet. Humans may not consider oceans as a priority because we are a land species, but ocean warming brings natural disasters to our mainland. With the highest ocean temperatures recorded in 65 years, measured from surface level to a depth of 1.24 miles/2 km, these disasters are on the rise. The fires that raged in Australia and in the Amazon in 2020, and the heavy rainfalls in Europe and China, are evidence of the increased frequency of weather-related disasters. According to the  World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, weather-related hazards are the main driver of disasters, with a major human and economic toll on developing countries that are often more exposed to hazards and less prepared to address them and their consequences.

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Picture: People’s Bank of China, one of the most active central banks in the green and climate agenda

Engaging central banks in climate change?

By Dr. Dongyang Pan, School of Applied Economics, Renmin University of China, and Professor Raimund Bleischwitz, Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London

With the international community moving towards a “Net-Zero” economy, financial regulators and central banks have started showing significant interest in averting climate-related risks and promoting a green economic transition. Since 2015, when a report published by the Bank of England put forward that climate change could pose a risk to financial stability and economic development, there has been a shift in central banks’ mindset and they now participate in the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS). In 2020 and 2021, the European Central Bank and People’s Bank of China explicitly proposed to use monetary policy to enable the low-carbon transition. The EU is also pushing green investments via its financial taxonomy.

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Africa must be at the heart of COP26

By Dr Penny Byrne, Climate Research Analyst at Standard Bank & Simon Freemantle, Senior Political Economist at Standard Bank

The COP26 summit presents a vital opportunity for global leaders, particularly those representing developed economies, to place Africa’s unique and pressing needs and demands at the centre of a more equitable framework for future climate mitigation and adaptation. The reason for Africa’s centrality in these discussions is simple: though its contribution to climate change has been negligible (in all, Africa contributed just 4% of total emissions in 2019 despite being home to over 17% of the world’s population), the continent will be powerfully, indeed disproportionately, affected by its long-term consequences.

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The future of green is win-win

By Erik Solheim, President Green Belt and Road Institute and Former Minister of Environment and International Development of Norway

To face the great environmental – and in many respects existential – challenges of our time, we need to change the way we think. Green action is not a cost. Neither is it as difficult as we tend to believe. The green shift is a huge opportunity for win-win policies.

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Not all walls are built to divide us: In Africa, the world’s longest wall is setting its people free

By Tina Birmpili, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Across Africa, the world’s longest wall is being built. Not a wall to keep immigrants out or oppressed people in. Rather, a wall to unlock the potential of millions of people in the Sahel.

This is the Great Green Wall – an African-led initiative that the entire international community should throw its weight behind. To unlock the finance that will allow the wall to deliver on all its goals, however, we need to change the narrative in a diverse and vibrant region that is often dismissed as a lost cause.

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COP26’s moment of truth: High time for good food finance to enter the climate action menu

By Olav Kjørven, Senior Director of Strategy, EAT

Two sectors will be decisive for the rapid and successful decarbonisation of our economies: energy and food. Energy gets a lot of attention. Food is another story. Decarbonising food production and consumption is just as urgent as the energy transition, but so far little is happening. Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and the UN Food Systems Summit in September have helped raise awareness. The EU Farm to Fork Strategy is a sign of hope. But at COP26 in Glasgow, we need real, concrete resolve to make food system transformation a climate action priority.

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Les réserves de biosphère : outils au service des objectifs de développement durable

Par Dimitri Sanga, Directeur et Enang Moma, Officier national du programme en sciences naturelles, Bureau régional de l’UNESCO pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest

Considérées comme des « lieux d’apprentissage pour le développement durable », les réserves de biosphère sont aussi des lieux de test des approches interdisciplinaires pour comprendre et gérer les changements et interactions entre les systèmes économiques, sociaux et écologiques. Elles comprennent les écosystèmes terrestres, marins et côtiers et favorisent des solutions conciliant conservation et durabilité de la biodiversité.

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¿Cómo va la vida en América Latina? Se agudizan las desigualdades y peligran los logros alcanzados

Por Romina Boarini, Directora del Centro para el Bienestar, Inclusión, Sostenibilidad e Igualdad de Oportunidades de la OCDE y Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Directora del Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE

La región de América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) ha experimentado un aumento considerable del bienestar en las últimas dos décadas, según el nuevo informe ¿Cómo va la vida en América Latina? Medición del bienestar para la formulación de políticas públicas, elaborado por el Centro de Bienestar, Inclusión, Sostenibilidad e Igualdad de Oportunidades (WISE) y el Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE. Los once países estudiados en el informe – Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, México, Paraguay, Perú, República Dominicana y Uruguay – han experimentado muchas mejoras en la calidad de vida desde principios de la década de 2000, como el aumento de la esperanza de vida, la reducción de la mortalidad infantil y materna y un mejor acceso al agua potable. El número de personas en situación de pobreza absoluta (es decir, aquellas cuyos ingresos no son suficientes para satisfacer necesidades básicas como la alimentación o la vivienda) ha disminuido – de 1 de cada 3 en 2006 a 1 de cada 5 en 2019 – y la proporción de la población con educación secundaria superior ha aumentado del 34% al 46%. 

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How’s life in Latin America? Deepening inequalities and hard-won gains at risk

By Romina Boarini, Director of the OECD WISE Centre (Centre for Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity) and Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Director of OECD Development Centre

The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region has experienced considerable gains in well-being over the past two decades, according to the new report How’s Life in Latin America? Measuring Well-being for Policy Making by the OECD Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE) and the OECD Development Centre. The eleven countries studied in the report – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay – have experienced many improvements in quality of life since the early 2000s such as increased life expectancy, reduced child and maternal mortality, and better access to drinking water. The number of people in absolute poverty (i.e. those whose income is not enough to meet basic needs such as food or shelter) has declined – from 1 in 3 in 2006 to 1 in 5 by 2019 – and the share of the population with an upper secondary education has risen from 34% to 46%.  

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