More than 120 representatives from cities, national governments, financial institutions, NGOs and the private sector joined today the CFFactory, hosted by the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) and the Senate of Berlin.
The CFFactory began with a short ‘fireside chat’ between Mark Watts, Executive Director of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and Joachim Göske, Director of Global Policy and Governance for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The conversation was moderated by Sonja van Renssen, the event’s Master of Ceremonies. The discussion centred around the current lack of capacity in cities to access the finance needed to allow them to push forward their ambitious plans to deliver sustainable, high-quality infrastructure.
However, they also noted that we must go further than structuring individual, financially sound projects, but that finance as a system needs to be transformed to become more sustainable. Aniket Shah, Head of Sustainable Investing at OppenheimerFunds, addressed this issue directly in his keynote speech: he challenged the notion that it is the lack of financial instruments, technology or good projects that are hindering the development of sustainable infrastructure, but instead blamed deficient institutional and organisational architectures. To deliver the $1-2 trillion needed in annual green infrastructure spending, there needs to be transformative change in rules, laws and mindsets. A panel discussion including speakers from Quezon City, the IFC, EBRD, and 100RC addressed the questions raised by the keynote speech, offering a multi-stakeholder perspective on the issues of access to finance for sub-national governments.
A number of financing instruments and institutions from both the public and private sector were showcased during two innovative ‘reverse pitching’ sessions. Instead of cities pitching a project to a financier, cities had the chance to listen and evaluate different proposals from financiers. Discussions in small groups focused on the key characteristics of each mechanism, potential obstacles and how they can be tailored to cities’ needs.
Finally, the CFF launched a new report unpacking the concept of transformation and what it means in the context of its work on cities, climate change, and finance. The report, presented by Rishika Das Roy, one of its authors, proposes that it is both the scale and nature of the impact that the CFF achieves which is important, but also how the impact is being achieved and how it includes systemic change. Examples from its three partner cities of Bogotá, Mexico City and Durban are discussed to explore some of the specific changes being seen, such as shifts in structures, inter-institutional coordination, mindset and partnerships.
Representatives from Curitiba, Durban (eThekwini), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) built upon the themes of the report to suggest ways of increasing ambition on climate change in light of the new report on transformation.
Transforming cities and finance to address climate change
To wrap up proceedings, the Senate of Berlin hosted an evening reception in the Berlin City Hall (Rotes Rathaus). Sawsan Chebli, Berlin’s Permanent Secretary for International Relations, spoke about some of the important steps that the city is taking on climate change, such as community-funded tree planting and cargo bike schemes.
During the reception, the CFF announced that it will offer specialist financial advice and bespoke support to a further nine cities. The cities were chosen following a call for applications in early 2018 and a competitive process to select suitable projects. The following cities have been offered support for their infrastructure projects:
- Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Montería - Public bikesharing systems.
- Tshwane – (1) A 17km bicycle spine through the city; (2) a combined heat and power biogas plant at the Zeekoegat waste water treatment works.
- Quito – Electrification of the Ecovía Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.
- Curitiba - Solar panels on four bus terminals and the deactivated Caximba Landfill in Curitiba.
- Quezon City - Solar panels on 50 schools.
- Dar es Salaam – Reducing the vulnerability of the Msimbazi floodplain to extreme climate related flooding.
You can find the press release here.