On 8 July 2022, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) jointly organised a seminar discussing implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change in developing countries. It featured Dr Yannick Glemarec (Executive Director, GCF) and other experts from MOFA, UNDP, and UNU. The event also explored the role of capacity building and education to empower practitioners and youth toward climate and sustainable transformation across the world.
In opening remarks, David Malone (Rector, UNU) welcomed Dr Glemarec, noting that tackling climate change had become a high priority on the global agenda, especially for developing countries that face much greater risks from climate change but have fewer resources to address them. Takeshi Akahori (Director-General and Ambassador for Global Issues, MOFA, Japan) introduced Japan’s contributions to implementing the Paris Agreement through its commitments on greenhouse emission reduction and financial support.
Dr Glemarec delivered a presentation on GCF activities, highlighting the gap in climate financing between the actual levels and the levels required for the 1.5 degree pathway to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts. He pointed out the need to change the perception that green projects offer lower returns, as well as to de-risk climate resilient infrastructure in developing countries, which faces high financing costs. Dr Glemarec outlined key features of GCF activities including partnerships with existing institutions, including commercial banks, as well as a risk-taking attitude. He also illustrated its financing process by showing project examples including with Japanese partners.
A panel session shared perspectives on how to promote implementation of the Paris Agreement in developing countries. Ambassador Akahori (Director-General and Ambassador for Global Issues, MOFA, Japan) described the financial support provided by the Government of Japan and its bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects in developing countries. He pointed out the importance of human resource development and expressed hope that UNU would further develop its contribution in this area. Tetsuo Kondo (Director, UNDP Representation Office in Tokyo) outlined UNDP activities to support developing countries in implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions as an Accredited Entity of the GCF.
Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) explained how UNU-IAS policy-oriented research and education programmes were advancing implementation efforts through integrating expertise across disciplines. She highlighted the institute’s new initiative to launch a postgraduate degree specialisation on the Paris Agreement.
Discussion moderated by Akio Takemoto (Programme Head, UNU-IAS) considered challenges and opportunities for implementation in developing countries, as well as gaps and needs related to capacity for practitioners and youth to implement climate action. Dr Glemarec highlighted the ambition gaps in climate mitigation, adaptation and financing, and the progress made at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) towards closing these gaps.
Emphasising a human-centred approach, partnerships, and respect for ownership, Ambassador Akahori underlined the importance of adaptation measures and capacity development for policymaking and implementation. Mr Kondo underlined the role of education for young people across the world. Prof Yamaguchi stressed opportunities for collective action by stakeholders toward synergistic transformation for climate and sustainable development. She elaborated on UNU-IAS’s efforts to develop the postgraduate degree specialisation on the Paris Agreement and expectations to enhance collaboration among partners to advance the initiative.