For developing countries struggling under the heavy financial burden of COVID-19 response, international climate finance is critical to enabling them to transition to a low-carbon future, climate-resilient future as they work to recover from the pandemic. Even prior to COVID-19, many climate-vulnerable countries in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa were struggling under the burden of unsustainable debt. Countries lack the financial resources to deal with climate-related shocks and risks let alone invest in climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives. As a signatory to the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, Canada has helped enable debt-stricken countries to redirect finances to address recovery efforts in the near term, yet debt burdens remain a major barrier to much needed climate investments.
Under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, Canada and other developed nations have jointly committed to contributing at least US$100bn annually in carbon finance. Yet leveraging the full potential of this funding requires Canada and other developed countries to improve the effectiveness, fairness and accountability of climate finance.
The post-2020 renewal of Canada’s climate finance commitment offers an opportunity to address climate and related development priorities as outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP). As a major carbon emitter and signatory to the Paris Agreement, Canada should significantly increase its contribution to climate finance. Moreover, the delivery of Canada’s climate finance should advance its feminist commitments by addressing underlying inequalities that heighten the vulnerabilities of women, girls and gender-diverse people, strengthening the resilience of communities and supporting an inclusive, sustainable recovery.
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