Aligning Development Co operation with the Objectives of the Paris Agreement


Remarks by Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

Katowice, Poland - 12 December 2018

(As prepared for delivery)




Dear Patricia, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am pleased to launch the new OECD initiative, Aligning Development Co operation with the Objectives of the Paris Agreement. I would like to thank my good friend and colleague, Ms. Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, for joining us.

The landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a grim picture of our future if climate change continues to intensify. This year’s extreme weather events – record breaking heatwaves, wildfires, heavy rains, major tropical storms, diminishing Arctic sea ice – could soon become our daily reality. With only 12 years left to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees, we need to take bold and decisive action.

And there is no economic excuse for failing to act. The OECD’s flagship study for the G20, Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth, shows that integrating climate action into economic policies could deliver a net increase to global GDP of almost 5% by 2050!

We’ve heard a lot of alarming evidence this week on the risks of inaction, which will affect developing countries the hardest. We are talking about huge losses in food production, increases in populations exposed to water shortages, the loss of rangeland livestock and growth in vector borne diseases.

Climate change will also have a financial cost: we estimate that adaptation costs will range between USD 280 billion and USD 500 billion by 2050. It will also affect the movement of people in ways we can’t fully predict: forecasts of climate change-induced migration vary from 25 million to 1 billion migrants by 2050.


Development co-operation plays a key role

As emphasised in the Paris Agreement, climate action will require efforts from all of us. Development co-operation plays a critical role in supporting climate action in developing countries, through support for policy reform and the development of long-term strategies, capacity building, as well as direct financing and the mobilisation of broader resources.

I’m happy to report that development co-operation providers are stepping up. Climate related development finance increased from USD 39 billion in 2013 (17% of total Official Development Finance) to USD 55 billion in 2016 (20.1% of Official Development Finance). And bilateral and multilateral providers have announced significant financial commitments to tackle climate change this week.

Development co-operation providers are also integrating climate concerns more broadly in their portfolio. In 2016, total Official Development Assistance (ODA) from members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) exceeded USD 145 billion, of which around USD 30 billion included a focus on climate change. Similarly, in 2015-16, close to one third of commitments to infrastructure sectors reported by the largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) were climate-related.


We need to do more

This is good news. However, we need to go further. We need to ensure that climate action is fully integrated into development co-operation. This means taking a holistic look at the support provided by development co operation providers and examining explicitly the share of it that does not target climate objectives, to understand how it is contributing to – or worse, countering – the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The question we need to ask ourselves is not just: “Is the support provided sufficiently aligned with the Paris Agreement?”, but rather: “How can we do more? How, and in what form, can development finance best support developing countries to achieve more ambitious NDCs, to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and improve their overall development progress? How should development co-operation agencies and development finance institutions adjust their business models to meet this ambition?”


Aligning Development Co-operation with the Objectives of the Paris Agreement

These are questions the OECD’s new initiative, Aligning Development Co-operation  with the Objectives of the Paris Agreement, seeks to address. By analysing policies and portfolios, it will assess the extent to which development co-operation is aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and the ability of the current aid architecture to effectively respond.

The OECD will not be doing this work alone. In addition to working closely with our Members, we will benefit from the support from a High-Level Advisory Group of renowned leaders and global experts on climate change and development. The Advisory Group will support the identification of recommendations and key actions to strengthen the contribution of development co-operation to the transition towards climate-compatible development.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

In the last stages of the negotiation of the Paris Agreement in 2015, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “This is not a moment of talking about national perspectives. A good global solution will help good local solution”. Three years later, these words are still, and even more, relevant. Meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement must be the result of collective action, and development co-operation is an important component of it.

The OECD is proud to launch this important initiative, which we hope will help align the focus and contribution of development co-operation with the ambition of meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement through collective action. We look forward to a rich discussion.  Thank you.




See also:

OECD work on Development Co-operation

OECD work with Poland



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