Impressive financial commitments have dominated the news this past week.
While the US$700 billion US domestic economic bailout plan overshadowed most other news, an otherwise notable US$16 billion in new commitments were announced on 25 September, during the High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In his speech to the opening of the General Debate of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly two days before the High-Level meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the global food, energy and financial crises, as well as the challenge of climate change, and emphasized the need for global leadership and solutions. He called on UN member States to be ambitious and concrete in their commitments to achieve the MDGs. The resulting pledges included US$1.6 billion to bolster food security, a new initiative called “Purchase for Progress,” which will buy surplus crops directly from poor farmers in Africa and Central America, over $750 million to address climate change, and commitments to intensify efforts to slow deforestation.
Similarly, at a parallel New York City meeting, the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting announced that participants’ pledges there had reached US$8 billion, spread over 250 new commitments. And on 26 September, leading industrialized nations met at the World Bank and pledged more than US$6.1 billion to the recently created World Bank Climate Investment Funds. These Funds were created earlier this year to invest in projects and programmes in developing countries that contribute to the demonstration, deployment and transfer of low-carbon technologies, and to test innovative approaches to climate change.
Meanwhile, other events included in this issue of Linkages Update
highlight additional directions from which sustainable development financing is being approached. The Thematic Conference on Employment and Economic Growth: The Challenge of Climate Change,” from which IISD RS reported, identified opportunities and directions for economic activities in Africa in response to climate change. The Green Jobs
report commissioned by the UN Environment Programme presents even more information about opportunities for job creation to address climate change. From renewable energy and energy efficiency, to agriculture and recycling and waste management, the report projects the potential for growth in these sectors, although it calls for “just transitions” for those affected by the transformations in the economy. To achieve this goal, the report identifies the need for “meaningful social dialogue between government, workers and employers… to support better informed and more coherent environmental, economic and social policies,” and for “all social partners to be involved in the development of such policies.” We will continue to help you monitor these transitions and manage the knowledge resources that partners in this discussion require.