Representatives from 19 countries explore climate responses in several areas, including urban development, transportation, renewable energy, early warning systems, and agriculture.

By Rosa Espín and Leticia Sitges

Nearly 200 participants from 19 different countries recently convened in Colombia for the Green Climate Fund’s (the Fund’s) first Structured Dialogue with Latin America. The meeting, which was held on March 5–8 with the collaboration of the Government of Colombia, underscores the importance of the conclusions reached under such Structured Dialogues. The Fund holds Structured Dialogues in different areas of the world to exchange insights with regional governments on how to use public investment to address climate change concerns and promote private funding.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change created the Fund in 2010 to support developing countries’ efforts to limit or reduce emissions to fight the effects of climate change. In 2015, the Paris Agreement designated the global Fund an important role in achieving certain targets, for example, keeping global temperature rise well below 2º C above pre-industrial levels and to further limit the temperature increase to 1.5º C.

The Structured Dialogue provided the Latin American countries with an opportunity to explore climate responses in several areas, such as urban development, transport, renewable energy, early warning systems, and forests and agriculture. This meeting was the first of its kind in Latin America and, given that the Latin America region represents 22% of the world’s forests, the conclusions reached under the Structured Dialogue are crucial for the whole world.

The Structured Dialogue addressed Latin America’s main priorities in implementing the Paris Agreement’s goals to fight climate change, with emphasis on the following topics:

  • Increasing Latin America countries’ knowledge of the modalities and procedures for requesting support from the Fund once adequate long-and-short-term priorities have been set.
  • Advancing and studying energy efficiency — understood as the most economic energy source — and electric transportation to reach solutions for certain regions with underdeveloped infrastructure interconnections.
  • Developing and funding practical programs of climate-related activities to implement two keys areas — Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).
  • Strengthening the role of the private sector. Mr. Antonio Garcia, a climate change specialist with the Development Bank of Latin America, a Fund Accredited Entity, highlighted the need to attract the private sector further in boosting investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The executive director of the Fund, Mr. Howard Bamsey, said that Fund-financed projects in Latin America will boost the markets so that they have greater energy efficiency at small company-level and on an industrial scale of nine countries: Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay.

The Fund plans to revisit many initiatives with participants in the coming months. Latham will continue to monitor and report on any further developments that could arise in Latin America as a result of the Structured Dialogue and the Fund’s commitment to invest US$350 million in the region.