04 Nov 2021

Reflections on COP26

Philippe Valahu, PIDG CEO, shares his reflections on COP26, PIDG's contribution to the UK's Clean Green Initiative, and the next steps we must take to deliver positive change for people and planet.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) began in Glasgow on Sunday 31 October and is now in full swing. Only five days in, we have seen world leaders respond to calls for urgent climate action with ambitious goals. From commitments to reduce methane emissions and stop deforestation by 2030, to major finance packages to deliver clean and resilient infrastructure in emerging markets and developing countries, it is clear that the world is ready to ‘rewrite our story’, as Sir David Attenborough encouraged, and deliver collaborative and equitable climate action to make the world better for people and planet.

 

At PIDG, we are proud to be a part of COP26 and the global effort to deliver climate aligned infrastructure, particularly in the countries and communities that need it the most. On Tuesday 2 November, the UK Prime Minister announced the launch of the Clean Green Initiative to help developing countries take advantage of green technology and grow their economies sustainably.

 

PIDG is an important contributor to this initiative and we came to COP26 this week with a package of more than £210 million (almost 290 million USD) in new investment to back transformational green projects in some of the developing countries that need it the most.

 

PIDG pioneers private investment in some of the countries that face the most acute impacts of climate change but lack the necessary infrastructure and technology to adequately overcome them. We have already invested in first-of-a-kind renewable energy projects (including solar power in Vietnam and Mali, solar with battery storage in Malawi, mini-grids in remote Philippines’ islands and rural Sierra Leone), and electrical mobility in Kenya, and we are proud to have developed the first certified green bond in East Africa. 

 

We are excited to scale up, replicate and innovate further, to ensure that we deliver infrastructure that benefits people and planet.

 

One of the core goals of COP26 is the mobilisation of climate finance. While there has been a steady increase in climate investments from both public and private actors in recent years, there is much more to be done to limit global warming to 1.5°C. I was pleased to join a panel discussion at the UK Presidency Pavilion at COP26 yesterday to discuss the state of the market for climate finance mobilisation, and how public and private actors can work to bridge the climate financing gap, particularly to meet the climate transition needs in emerging markets. PIDG has been working on this for a long time, and we want to use our experience to continue to lead the way and make a difference where it is needed the most.


My message was that we need urgent action and a step change in development finance. My final plea during yesterday’s discussion was that we now need to leverage ideas, institutions and products that already exist, rather than reinventing the wheel. There is no doubt that we are facing a tough challenge, but I’m encouraged to see the world coming together in Glasgow to engage, collaborate and re-energise climate action. The proof will be as always – how we implement in practice all these commitments, as this is what will deliver positive change for people and planet.

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