Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Doha, Qatar

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR COLEMAN: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s an honor to be here with all of you today.

Over the last year, events like the devastating floods in Pakistan and record drought in the Horn of Africa reinforce what we’ve known for some time: Those least to blame for the climate crisis are the ones suffering the harshest consequences.

In 2021, damage caused by weather-related disasters was around $30 billion dollars in developing countries. And according to the World Bank, damages and economic losses from last year’s floods in Pakistan alone have exceeded $30 billion dollars.

Yet the total of all global humanitarian assistance is around $31 billion dollars a year — most of which addresses humanitarian needs stemming from conflict, not climate. However, the last year has also shown record levels of investment and new policies to transition the world to a more sustainable pathway. 

For USAID’s part, we have nearly doubled our investments into climate-related activities since President Biden took office. And the United States passed a domestic climate law that will cut our emissions by 40 percent this decade. But we know we need to do more, and that starts with changing how we design and target these investments. 

As global climate-related investments steadily increase, we see the bulk of those funds concentrating in wealthier countries and communities. Unfortunately, our efforts to quickly hit big investment targets often means sidestepping local actors — those whose lives and livelihoods are already being impacted.

At USAID, we're trying to change that. Across our climate programming, we are working with partners to strengthen the business case for adaptation financing in developing countries. And we’re not the only ones making the case — Bank of America estimates the climate adaptation market could become a $2 trillion dollar industry over the next five years. 

Through President Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, we're working with the private sector to remove long-standing barriers to investment in climate adaptation. 

Today, the world invests about $50 billion in climate adaptation — but needs are projected to grow beyond $300 billion by the end of the decade. With just two percent of current adaptation finance coming from the private sector. That’s a significant gap and not a lot of time to bring additional finance to the table to meet the world’s needs. 

Our private sector call to action has already seen a number of companies make groundbreaking commitments. Corporations like Google, Mastercard, WTW, and Microsoft are helping to expand access to climate information and early warning systems, introducing new financial products and services, making investments in climate-smart food systems, and broadening insurance coverage for climate disasters.

In places like Bangladesh, where much of the land is barely above sea level and storms and floods are becoming more frequent and severe, we are working with NASA to strengthen flash flood early warning systems and help local governments use satellite data to prepare for changing weather conditions.

Across Africa, where annual climate financing is a fraction of what’s needed to implement Nationally Determined Contributions, we're expanding clean and resilient electricity services through our initiative, Power Africa, so all people can benefit from affordable, reliable, clean electricity.

And we’ve worked with insurance companies to create profitable regional risk pools in the Sahel that allow partner governments to secure drought and disaster payouts for their farmers. In Mali and Burkina Faso, insurance policies have already paid out nearly $20 million of relief to drought-stricken farmers.

We're also working to direct investments to support Indigenous and other local communities — proven stewards of the land who conserve critical ecosystems like the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Indonesian rainforests, and deserve to see the economic benefits of this work that helps us all. 

And we are supporting local access to major climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund, through targeted technical assistance, and using our voice to advocate for governance that supports this long-term. 

The world's progress on reducing emissions has stemmed in part from public and private sector collaboration. That strong collaboration — coupled with attention to the needs of local communities and transparency about results — can drive further action on climate adaptation and resilience. 

But we need more of this collaboration. And we need our partner governments to do more to bring the private sector to the table. To offer incentives and reduce the risk that companies face for investing in high impact work. 

We look forward to working with everyone in this room, and many more outside of it, in the coming months and years to expand access to climate finance and shift the power of our efforts to the communities most in need.

Thank you so much. 

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