Vice President Faisal Naseem on Monday called on developed countries to fully recognise their contributions to climate change and take responsibility to offset the disproportionate ill effects of their actions on small developing states through grant aid. He made this statement while speaking at the 'Innovative Finance for Climate and Development' high-level roundtable held as part of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The government of Egypt organised the roundtable.
Addressing world leaders and representatives of financial institutions, the Vice President revealed the economic realities facing the Maldives in the face of climate change and other global catastrophes, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
"With the economic downturn that emerged with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic still lingering in Maldives, and as an import-dependent country currently faced with an energy crisis due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we are stretched thin to take on more and more debt in loans to address the impact of climate change, that is progressively worsening," said the Vice President.
As discussions are underway on the threat of climate change and ways to overcome its effects, the Vice President stated that it was vital to acknowledge the need to strike a balance between mitigation and adaptation in climate finance. He said that more than half of climate finance for countries like the Maldives should be dedicated to adaptation. He then stressed the need to scale up ambitions and meet the collective goal of US$100 billion per year in climate finance.
Highlighting the need to remove heavy bureaucratic hurdles to accessing climate finance, the Vice President called on donors to do more to help climate-vulnerable countries like the Maldives access timely and sufficient climate finance needed for their survival. He also stated that the world needs to increase its ambition outside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to fully implement the Paris Agreement.
The Vice President urged international financial institutions to align policies with the Paris Agreement and proposed innovative financing solutions that would benefit climate-vulnerable countries. "The time is running short as the existential threat posed by climate change looms ever larger," he warned, stating that we can only resolve a global crisis of this scale if we all do our part in concert with each other.