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The role of ODA in the area of climate change


Opening Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, DAC High Level Meeting

Paris, 28 May 2009

Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen

I am very pleased to welcome the distinguished Participants to the DAC High Level Meeting here today. I understand you made important progress on critical issues of whole-of-government and whole-of system approaches to conflict and fragility, following on from a major international conference hosted by Switzerland on this theme just a few weeks ago.

You have also been discussing the economic crisis and the contributions the aid effectiveness agenda can make in these difficult times. The various components of the Action Plan you adopted are essential to minimize the effects of the crisis on developing countries. Yesterday’s discussions on women’s empowerment and gender equality moved us beyond the rhetoric and agreed some practical ways forward to achieve even more concrete results.

Yesterday, I could not be with you, because I was in Denmark to participate in a meeting on Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and their many linkages with environmental and climate change challenges.

Climate change will affect just about all aspects of our lives. Just like the ICT community, the development co-operation community needs to think through its implications and come up with forceful responses.

You are already well aware that climate change poses a serious risk to lives and livelihoods, particularly for the world’s most vulnerable. The impacts of climate change may reverse progress towards reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Climate change is therefore a critical part of the development co-operation agenda, as you will be discussing in detail this afternoon with your Environment colleagues. Your deliberations will indeed be very timely in the lead up to the Copenhagen Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC next December.

OECD countries have a critical role to play in supporting developing countries in their efforts to address climate change challenges. One necessary -- though by no means sufficient -- precondition will be to mobilize sufficient financing to address the climate change challenges.

Current financing for climate change adaptation and mitigation is clearly insufficient. The UNFCCC Secretariat estimates that additional investment and financial flows of USD 200 to 210 billion per year will be necessary to achieve climate change mitigation targets and that several tens of billions of USD will be necessary for adaptation. (UNFCCC, 2007 ).

We expect the Copenhagen “Deal” to include significant innovative financing mechanisms to help developing countries address the challenges of climate change. However, ODA will have an important role to play in the short to medium-term, until these mechanisms become fully operational. This breakfast meeting will be an important opportunity to discuss the role of ODA in this context.

After this breakfast, we are all invited to the opening of the Financing Development in Time of Crisis conference organised by the French government here at our Conference Centre, which is of great interest and will provide an opportunity to meet some ministers from developing countries who might also be attending.

Then, to close the DAC HLM, you will be discussing the findings of the DAC Reflection Exercise. There is so much good to be said about the DAC and its achievements, and the Reflection Group presents us with a golden opportunity to inject some dynamic vision to steer the DAC in a rapidly changing world. I am grateful to all the members of the Reflection Group for their contributions and look forward to the results of your deliberations on the DAC’s future, which the OECD Council will then take up in July.


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