Nada Yamout

CCFLA City Ambassador and former City Councillor Beirut, Lebanon

In my opinion, this conference is a key opportunity for countries to reach concrete results that contribute to reducing carbon emissions, enhancing green energy plans (encouraging the usage of clean energy), and supporting developing countries with the necessary funding that will help them combat climate change effects.

As positive outcomes,  I would like to see municipalities have a more advanced role in climate change mitigation by providing them with the necessary technical assistance and finance needed to formulate sustainable local policies and implement them through solutions that can accelerate climate actions. Municipalities are key catalysts for SDGs as well as mitigation and adaptation goals in cities.

Last but not least, and to move from the stage of policies to the stage of implementation and management of this transition, the conference should highlight innovative ideas on financing bankable projects to accelerate investment mobilization and create blended finance opportunities by also involving the private sector.

One final issue to keep in mind is that COP27 is occurring at a time when the world economy is still recovering from Covid19 consequences, which still may influence climate change prioritization and actions in countries.

Several initiatives have been considered so far toward financing green transition:

  • IFC, through its Sustainable Energy Finance Program, has helped a leading bank in Lebanon to develop capabilities and expertise to expand its loan offerings for corporations, schools, and homeowners that want to invest in renewables and energy-efficient projects. This bank has a clear environmental strategy based on developing the green lending business, promoting sustainable energy finance models for its clients, and reflecting its commitment to the environment and the economy.
  • The efforts of the local authorities were supported by the Cleaner Energy Saving Mediterranean Cities Project (CES-MED) a project funded by the European Union (EU) to respond more actively to sustainable policy challenges. The project aims at:
    • Developing the local authorities’ capacities to formulate and implement sustainable local policies.
    • Expanding the use of sustainable policies, such as solutions to renewable energy, measures to reduce CO2 emissions, efficient water and waste management, and environment-friendly public transport.
    • Increasing the awareness and responsiveness of national authorities to the need for and benefits of a strong involvement of cities in local sustainable policy issues.
  • In Lebanon, financial support has been received in the form of grants, loans (including concessional ones), green bonds and credit lines from key international donors for climate change projects including the GEF, the EU, UNFCCC, World Bank, and EBRD. Among others:
      • 12 national climate change projects amounting to USD 8,181,600 were financed by GEF Trust Fund in the form of grants.
      • OECD countries channeled grants to Lebanon for policy formulation, institutional support and education and awareness in the fields of forestry, energy, water supply and sanitation, which are directly and indirectly related to climate change.
      • The Low Emission Capacity Building Project (LECB) implemented by the MoE. to develop a greenhouse gas emission national inventory system, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), and the establishment of a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system.

For more information here.

As a former City Official, I can invest the knowledge that I have gained during my term as a City Councillor in groups/ alliances that support cities in building their capacities to enhance their adaptation and resilience. By joining the Alliance, I can gain more knowledge and insights about cities’ climate finance from a wide network of highly specialized and committed peers. In addition, I can leverage this gained knowledge for the benefit of local governments to further enhance their role as promotors of SDGs and accelerators of public and private investment mobilization for climate actions.

Lebanon is facing many challenges, e.g. economic crisis, the Port of Beirut explosion, the economic repercussions of Covid19, and the extended political deadlock. On top of all these, Lebanon faces another challenge, climate change. Lebanon published its climate plan and is highly ambitious for  2030. The plan includes generating 18% of its electricity and 11% of its heating from renewable sources by 2030, up from a previous combined target of 15%.

Combatting climate change is still an agenda at the national level while city involvement is minimal. The government took several measures to combat climate change. The government prioritized its adaptation measures such as combating desertification and helping increase farmers’ resilience measures. The government developed a National Adaptation Plan to mainstream climate adaptation actions across its governance structures and processes and completed several climate change related projects which have been funded by international donors. Currently, more needs to be done in regards to prioritizing climate planning and disaster risk management, increasing resilience and adaptation measures, increasing the private sector’s participation, and renewable energy, among others.