INTRODUCTION

In September 2015, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, setting the vision, framework and targets for the critical transition to a more sustainable and resilient world. With only a decade left to achieve the goals, a major push is needed.

Closing the $2.5 trillion annual funding gap for achieving the SDGs is a top priority, particularly for climate change and other environmental pillars. Supporting innovative financing of the energy transition has also emerged as one of the greatest opportunities on the road to 2030, as expressed in the recent UN Secretary General’s Strategy for Financing the 2030 Agenda.

This is particularly critical in the Arab region, which currently stands as the world’s most water-scarce and food import dependent region. With temperatures rising faster than the global average, climate change has emerged as one of the most complex and important regional risks, exacerbating poverty and human insecurity.

ABOUT THE KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM

The Knowledge Platform provides financial institutions in the Arab region a one-stop platform to access information, data from research, and direct links to sustainable finance tools that can support them in their transition to more climate-aware business models. The platform also provides a channel for knowledge sharing and good practice cases submitted by contributing banks in the region.

Through this UNEP FI hosted Knowledge Platform under the umbrella of the SDG-Climate Facility Project, we aim to engage key financial sector actors in the transformation of the Arab region’s financial system to one that addresses SDG funding.

THE SDG-CLIMATE FACILITY PROJECT

The SDG Climate Facility Project seeks to enhance the capacity of regional and national institutions to effectively integrate climate change into development and crisis prevention/recovery actions, including support to scale-up climate finance for innovative local solutions with co-benefits across SDGs.

The Project brings together multi-lateral institutions in the region such as the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Arab Water Council (AWC), and leading UN system partners active on climate actions in the region, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), the UN Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the World Food Programme (WFP) to partner on this project in collaboration with regional institutions, governments, the private sector, civil society, and academia. Together, the Partners and collaborating entities aspire to develop capacities for integrating climate change into development and crisis recovery programmes and policies, and scale up climate finance to support bottom-up solutions that build resilience to risks and strengthen adaptive capacities.

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Project partners:

 

THE ARAB REGION AND THE SDGs

Proactive policy is critical to ensuring the Arab region’s long-term resilience and stability in view of growing populations and economies, rising living standards, and the finite nature of the region’s unequally distributed natural resource wealth.

Most parts of the region – excluding the Arab LDCs – have been making significant inroads to near-universal access to energy, a key development goal. The region lacks sustainable resource management, however, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency and its overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels for virtually all its energy needs.

The transition to modern energy sources occupies a central place in the global development agenda. For instance, SDG7 is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. SDG13 further commits all UN member countries to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”

Without rapid progress on SDG7 it will be impossible to deliver on other SDGs by 2030 within the Arab region. The interconnections between issues such as water, food, energy, access to modern health care and education, gender equality and climate change mean the way we use, produce and ensure access to energy plays a pivotal role in achieving all other development goals.

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