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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Les réserves de biosphère : outils au service des objectifs de développement durable”

Can ecological modernisation bring about a just transition?


By Giovanni Carrosio, Professor of Environmental Sociology at University of Trieste, member of Forum on Inequality and Diversity & Lorenzo De Vidovich, Research Fellow in Ecowelfare Studies at University of Trieste


Some 1.4 billion people in the world are affected by energy poverty. Fifty million of these people are European citizens. Being unable to or facing constraints in satisfying basic needs such as cooking, lighting and heating, affect people’s quality of life and social mobility by exacerbating other forms of inequality. Energy poverty can have negative impacts on the quality of and access to education, can worsen people’s health, and can more generally limit peoples’ means of improving their living conditions. However policies to combat climate change and drive the ecological transition are often socially blind and perpetuate social inequalities. The eco-welfare framework can be used as a policy tool to align the ecological transition with social justice.

Continue reading “Can ecological modernisation bring about a just transition?”

In with the old and with the new: Meeting mountain farmers’ technological needs


By Filippo Barbera, Professor of Economic Sociology at University of Turin and member of Forum on Inequality and Diversity


In 53 countries of the world, mountainous areas cover more than 50% of national surface, in another 46, they cover between 25% and 50%. And in many other countries they play key roles, like serving as water reserves. In agriculture, modernisation has whittled away at the scale of assets held by individual farmers or local communities, such as land, labour and local knowledge. The voices of marginal mountain farmers have not been able to find space in this process. However, by combining traditional methods with modern tools and techniques, technology that is place-based and socially embedded can help meet mountain farmers’ needs and make governance more inclusive of mountain areas.

Continue reading “In with the old and with the new: Meeting mountain farmers’ technological needs”

Without help for oil-producing countries, net zero by 2050 is a distant dream


By Ali Allawi, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Iraq and Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)


In the Middle East and north Africa, global warming is not a distant threat, but an already painful reality. Rising temperatures are exacerbating water shortages. In Iraq, temperatures are estimated to be rising as much as seven times faster than the global average. Countries in this region are not only uniquely affected by global temperature rises: their centrality to global oil and gas markets makes their economies particularly vulnerable to the transition away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner energy sources. It’s essential the voices of Iraq and similar countries are heard.

Continue reading “Without help for oil-producing countries, net zero by 2050 is a distant dream”

Leveraging Asia’s investment potential for a green recovery


By Jong Woo Kang, Principal Economist, Economic Research and Co-operation Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Rolando Avendano, Economist, Economic Research and Co-operation Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB)


Developing Asia is estimated to have fended off the scarring impact of investment decline relatively well during the pandemic compared to other developing regions such as Latin America and Africa. For example, the People’s Republic of China and India still posted a positive growth rate in FDI in 2020. Meanwhile global FDI flows collapsed in 2020, falling by 35%, their lowest level since 2005, according to the UN. The impact was felt the most in developed countries where FDI declined by 58%, while developing countries weathered the storm better, with an 8% decline. Latest estimates for the first quarter of 2021 suggest an overall 10% decline for global FDI flows and 12% for Asian FDI inflows, according to firm level data. Adding to this is the fact that the pandemic has prompted economies, in the region and globally, to implement stricter screening and regulatory measures to oversee FDI. While the arguments for these restrictive measures are compelling from the perspective of national security or public health, economic impact and implications should be taken into account. Policy makers in the region could also seize the moment as an opportunity to introduce higher social and environmental standards for investment. 

Continue reading “Leveraging Asia’s investment potential for a green recovery”

Making Special Drawing Rights work for climate action and development

By Members of the Task Force on Climate, Development, and the International Monetary Fund1


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is proposing a Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST), aimed at helping countries build resilience, respond to climate change and make the necessary transitions that can support both development and climate. With the proper modalities and regular replenishment, and without onerous conditionalities or increasing member country debt burdens, such a facility would strengthen the climate finance architecture and put the IMF on the climate change map.  

The IMF is considering an RST initially financed through ‘re-channelled’ Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the recent $650 billion in SDRs approved by the IMF this summer. The 2021 SDR allocation was the largest in history, but given the structure of SDR allocations the vast majority of SDRs will flow to high-income countries that will not need them. Indeed, just over one percent of the SDR allocation will go to the poorest countries. In recognition of these asymmetries, G7 leaders recently pledged to re-channel upwards of $100 billion of their allocations for “step change” in investments, including clean energy and green growth in low-income countries.

Continue reading “Making Special Drawing Rights work for climate action and development”

Intermediate cities and climate action: driving change through urban land use and governance

By Oliver Harman, Cities Economist for Cities that Work, International Growth Centre


In the first blog of this two-part series, it was argued that intermediate cities, through strong rural-urban linkages, especially in low-income settings, can provide an important social safety net in addition to their potential to alleviate poverty in the long-term. Moreover, and although largely undervalued by the international community and countries, intermediate cities can foster both short term climate adaptation and longer term climate mitigation. Namely, two areas currently under climatic strain stand to generate substantial gains through proactive policy: urban land use and municipal finances and urban governance. Through citizen driven mandates and by designing interventions that localise climate issues, stakeholders in climate action can help drive change in this area.

Continue reading “Intermediate cities and climate action: driving change through urban land use and governance”

Intermediate cities: a missing piece in the climate change puzzle

By Oliver Harman, Cities Economist for Cities that Work, International Growth Centre


Research and debate on climate change currently underestimate the importance of a key group of players: intermediate cities. Currently conversation and studies on climate change often centre on large and relatively wealthy capital cities. Their size in population, data availability and comparatively higher energy use per person are factors that draw attention. In comparison, low income intermediate cities (or small and medium sized cities) – those cities that play a linking role between rural and urban, and between cities of different sizes – are often left undervalued in the debate. This is despite these cities (particularly those equatorial or coastal in nature) facing disproportionate risks to climate shocks and stressors. They are vulnerable, and this vulnerability is increasing with rapid urbanisation, while they continue to face limited human and financial capacities.

Continue reading “Intermediate cities: a missing piece in the climate change puzzle”

Intermediate cities: a green and transformative post-COVID-19 recovery?

By Dražen Kučan, Sector Lead / Senior Urban and Energy Efficiency Specialist, Green Climate Fund

Guilty as charged: cities and urban populations are among the core drivers of anthropogenic climate change. Cities produce between 71% and 75% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1. There needs to be a ‘paradigm shift towards low emission and climate-resilient development pathways’. A shift that can happen in developing countries by supporting and investing in high impact climate mitigation as well as resilience and adaptation initiatives.

Continue reading “Intermediate cities: a green and transformative post-COVID-19 recovery?”