Paris finance summit must unlock global finance for nature and climate action in the places that need it most

Posted on June, 19 2023

Unlocking finance for developing countries is essential to deliver on global development, climate, and nature agreements, writes Robin Harvey.
Paris, France - The Summit for a New Global Financial Pact convened by France and India in Paris on 22 and 23 June is an unmissable opportunity to set a new course for the global financial system to better deliver on sustainable development, climate action, and the protection and restoration of nature, says WWF. 

Climate, biodiversity, and land degradation goals will be out of reach unless investments into nature-based solutions quickly ramp up to USD 384 billion a year by 2025, more than double of the current USD 154 billion a year, according to the UN Environment Programme.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead, and COP20 President, said: “When it comes to mobilizing the global finance needed for development, climate and nature, the world remains deadlocked. Rich countries are simply not meeting their obligations to assist developing countries to finance action on the climate and nature crisis. Meanwhile, global temperatures are rising, and more ecosystems face collapse. When the status quo is not delivering what is needed to tackle these global challenges, it is urgent that we seek innovative solutions and reforms to the systems that are holding back action. Leaders must seize the opportunity at the Paris finance summit to rebuild trust and unlock financial flows towards our global priorities.”

Despite recent commitments made by developed countries and financial institutions to increase finance for climate change mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity, much of this money has been slow to materialize. Rebuilding trust and delivering on finance commitments is essential for the world to deliver on the goals of global climate and nature agreements.

Fran Price, WWF Global Forest Lead, said: “To regain trust broken by unfulfilled pledges and inequity, leaders must scale up finance and signal their support for fair financial agreements between donor and developing countries that create clear and just economic incentives for protecting globally vital carbon and nature reserves.
“For example, wealthy nations have made grand promises to halt deforestation by 2030, offering big monetary pledges to save the world’s forests and the nature within them. But funding has been miniscule compared to what is needed. Developing nations, where much of our remaining forests stand, have been shortchanged. When funding pledged to fight deforestation fails to arrive and pales in comparison to what logging, plantations and mines can pay, make no mistake: we will lose our forests.”

The Paris finance summit will be vital for establishing a new narrative on finance that can help underpin progress at key events in coming months, including at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, UN SDG Summit, UNFCCC COP28, the World Bank and IMF annual meetings, and CBD COP16 next year.

To help unlock the finance that is needed to meet our shared global development, climate and nature goals, WWF calls on the summit to prioritize:
  • Reforming Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), to shift financial flows away from harmful activities and towards those that benefit society and the environment. MDBs must fully align with both the Paris Agreement and Kunming Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework and implement their 2021 joint statement on nature. MDBs must also help accelerate private investment, with critical grant capital and development finance to crowd in private investors.
  • Signaling clear support for fair financial deals between donor and developing countries, including support for innovative financial vehicles, such as Country Packages for Forests, Nature and Climate. These promise to create economic incentives, underwritten by new financing, for developing countries to protect globally vital reserves of carbon and biodiversity.
  • Promoting and scaling up debt solutions, such as debt-for-nature swaps or sustainability-linked bonds. This would help meet a critical goal of the Bridgetown Agenda initiated by Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, by addressing the unsustainable debt burden facing climate-vulnerable countries. This would also recognise the growing threat that climate disasters pose to developing countries’ debt sustainability, and redirect funding towards climate action and nature conservation. 
Elisa Vacherand, WWF Global Finance Lead, said: “We cannot tackle climate breakdown nor realize the promise of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals without nature. At COP26 in Glasgow, MDBs made commitments to foster nature-positive investment, and to put nature at the heart of their decision-making. Now is the time to deliver on these commitments — and to go further, by making unlocking and scaling finance for climate resilience and nature restoration the raison d’être of long overdue MDB reforms. This is essential to encourage sustainable economic growth and avoid the systemic threats to financial stability and the global economy.”

Véronique Andrieux, WWF France CEO, said: “For 2023 global leaders have set a promising agenda as we expect decisive agreements to be taken by COP28. But with a lack of solidarity and inadequate finance crippling global discussion and delaying action on nature and climate, each and every one of these coming opportunities can easily end up like sword strikes into water because the root finance issue remains unaddressed. The summit convened by President Emmanuel Macron sets a unique opportunity to start afresh and bring back trust between governments and partners. We expect much to be done in Paris to set the tone before COP28:  WWF calls governments and financial institutions attending the summit to push multilateral development banks to end fossil fuel finance for good, to encourage fair deals between countries to conserve our most valuable forests and to deploy innovative debt solutions that allow countries to recover margins of action while encouraging green policies.”

Léa Belorgey, Head of Communications, WWF France 

The report summary of WWF’s recommendations to governments and financial institutions attending The Summit for a New Global Financial Pact is available here