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.

THE SDG-CLIMATE FACILITY PLATFORM

The SDG Climate Facility 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 program will bring together partners from regional institutions, governments, UN, the private sector, civil society, and academia 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.

Through this UNEP FI hosted Knowledge Platform for the SDG-Climate Facility partnership, 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 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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