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Climate for change in Istanbul

Joumana Asso's picture

A view of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. - Photo: Shutterstock 

As the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and its stakeholders from the private sector, government,  the multilateral development banks, civil society and indigenous peoples’ groups gathered in Istanbul to participate in the first CIF Private Sector Forum, their attention is increasingly focused on synergies between the private and public in addressing climate change.  There is a growing understanding among both governments and private sector players - from investors to small project developers to large utility companies - that gains are much larger if common strategies are developed and new partnerships are forged.

Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, opened the day with an energetic keynote address, provocative and positive, setting up the stage for the day by announcing the scope of challenge and opportunities for dynamic, and pragmatic climate investment strategies. Sessions on private sector adaptation, and business attitudes towards climate risk followed. The `Matching Expectations' panel brought together indispensable partners, the triangle of project developers-investors-policy makers, into discussion of regulations, fund raising challenges and investors' expectations and requirements. 

The day also showcased five CIF projects, beginning with the highlight of the Morocco Ouarzazate CSP project, a unique PPP model, presented by Paddy Padmanathan, the CEO of the project's developer ACWA Power. 

Consensus emerged that the private sector will deliver much of the innovation and finance required for investments in low carbon technologies and climate resilience in rich and poor communities alike. With scientists warning that we are not on a path to limit global warming to 2° or less, there is growing urgency to identify effective ways in which the public and private sectors can best work together to tackle and adapt to climate change.  The CIF provide a platform for learning by doing to develop such models for effective collaboration and share experiences among the network of CIF recipient and contributor countries.

The CIF are already demonstrating the gains that come from the public and private sectors working toward common purposes. In Turkey, the government has enacted supportive policies for RE and EE, but access to finance for these investments remains a barrier. The Clean Technology Fund (CTF) is helping to break through this barrier through a $50 million contribution to the Turkey Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TURSEFF) - a credit facility developed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for business and household investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

By working through commercial banks, the facility is helping to build capacity among Turkey’s banking sector to develop their own instruments for RE and EE financing. Turkish government officials participating in the CIF meetings in Istanbul cited this and other CTF investments as transformational in Turkey’s transition toward a low carbon development path, by helping to create a conducive investment climate for clean technologies.

There is real buzz around the CIF’s first global gathering targeting the private sector with more than 200 participants representing a wide range of perspectives expected. There is also new momentum from the CIF governance committees with a decision this week to provide resources for increased private sector participation under the Program for Scaling up Renewable Energy (SREP). And during the CIF pilot country meetings that have just concluded here in Istanbul, many countries expressed eagerness to learn from each other on how best to mobilize the private sector to contribute to achieving national targets responding to climate change. The CIF Private Sector Forum is a step in deepening the engagement between public and private actors to tackle one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.