WAIFC's Road to Climate Action: COP28 Webinar Roundtable
On July 25, 2023, leaders from financial centers convened online for an essential discourse on the upcoming COP28 and the ways International Financial Centers (IFCs) can work together to improve the accessibility of climate finance solutions. The spotlight was on the roundtable event hosted by the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC).
As Vice Chair of WAIFC, Lamia Merzouki set the stage by emphasizing the relevance of sustainable finance in today's economic context. The WAIFC, a global non-profit consortium of 28 finance centers, has proven its commitment to sustainability through the release of numerous reports and guidelines on the subject since its inception in 2018. The main task of WAIFC is the coordination of projects and initiatives. Each project is sponsored by one or more financial centers. The value of WAIFC is in the success of those projects, and with commitments to the Paris Agreement under review in the upcoming COP28, all centers agreed on the coordination of joint efforts to make a lasting impact through a range of activities around COP28 and sustainable finance.
Also joining the discussion was a member of the COP28 programming team, giving a preview of the upcoming COP28 in the UAE and explaining its structure and key objectives. Other key points included this being the COP, where there will be a global stocktake of the Paris Agreement, with a paramount goal to confine global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a crucial challenge where finance has an instrumental role to play. Much reference was made to the significance of Finance Day, set for December 4th, which will center on key areas such as voluntary carbon markets, green capital markets, ESG reforms, and financing energy transition. A discussion followed around collaboration with WAIFC and its members to support the objectives of COP28 and the themes of Finance Day, with WAIFC management already holding a few discussions around hosting an event at or around COP28.
Chris Tait, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative. (GEFI), introduced the "Path to COP" concept, designed to encourage the financial sector's proactive involvement in climate initiatives surrounding COP28. This includes efforts like financing energy transitions, decarbonizing bank lending portfolios, unlocking Islamic finance, and promoting investment in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Earlier in the year, GEFI and WAIFC embarked on a year-long partnership to work together for mutual benefit in supporting each bodies objectives around COP28.
Also joining the discussion was a representative from UNDP Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S), stressing their contribution through various financial networks and initiatives, including a pre-COP28 half-day event centered around the theme of transition.
Other members representing financial centers spotlighted their support for COP28 including:
This webinar highlighted the comprehensive preparations underway for COP28, emphasizing the crucial role of sustainable finance in addressing climate change. The conversation underlined the need for global collaboration and innovative financial solutions to advance climate action across both developed and emerging economies. A role that the WAIFC has played as an enabler of sharing best practices and working with IFCs for mutual collaboration.
More information will be shared about the work WAIFC and our members are doing around COP28