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UK launches new initiative to take Green Industrial Revolution global

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Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, announced a major funding package at the first day of COP26 to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and revolutionary green technology in developing countries, helping to tackle climate change and boost economic growth.

The funding kickstarts the UK’s new Clean Green Initiative (CGI), which will help to scale up public and private investment in quality, sustainable infrastructure globally.

The prime minister emphasised the importance of providing climate finance for the developing world, the democratisation of green tech and other solutions to the climate crisis at an Action and Solidarity Roundtable at COP26, alongside the leaders of India, the United States and 24 other countries.

To support the Clean Green Initiative the UK will deliver over £3 billion in climate financing for green growth in developing countries over the next five years, including £200m for a new Climate Innovation Facility. This is double the amount the UK’s development finance institution, the CDC, invested in climate projects its previous strategy period from 2017-2021.

The Climate Innovation Facility will support the scale-up of technologies to help communities deal with the impacts of climate change, such as drought-resistant agriculture and sustainable forestry, in markets where private investors have been reluctant to take on the risk alone. It will be delivered by CDC in partnership with the private sector.

“I want to see the UK’s Green Industrial Revolution go global,” Johnson said. “The pace of change on clean technology and infrastructure is incredible, but no country should be left behind in the race to save our planet.

“The climate has often been a silent victim of economic growth and progress – but the opposite should now be true. Through the Clean Green Initiative, we can help to build back better and greener from the pandemic and put the world on the path to a more sustainable future.”

The UK aid-backed Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) will also commit more than £210m in new investment today to back transformational green projects in developing countries. The financing will go to schemes including electric vehicle manufacturing in India, green bonds in Vietnam and solar power in Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Nepal, and Chad – projects which are expected to mobilise more than £470m ($650m) in additional private sector finance.

In addition, the UK is announcing a package of guarantees to multilateral development banks that will provide a major boost to investments in climate-related projects in India and across Africa.

A new ‘Room to Run’ guarantee to the African Development Bank (AfDB) is expected to unlock up to £1.45 billion ($2 billion) worth of new financing for projects across the continent, half of which will help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. For example, it is expected to support the AfDB’s work on generating high-quality climate data to help countries plan for future impacts, water resource management and helping farmers increase their resilience to drought.

The UK will also provide an ‘India Green Guarantee’ to the World Bank, to unlock an additional £750 million ($1 billion) for green projects across India. The financing will support clean and resilient infrastructure in sectors such as clean energy, transport and urban development.

“Developing countries need the right form of investment to help drive clean growth, whilst dealing with the impacts of climate change,” Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, said. “The opportunities are clear and this new initiative will enable us to seize them, working closely with our allies to deliver honest and responsible investment and cleaner and more reliable infrastructure in the developing world.”

The Clean Green Initiative is a key part of the UK’s contribution to the G7 Build Back Better World initiative announced at the Carbis Bay Summit in June. It is intended to be a long-term approach to help developing countries bridge the infrastructure gap, while supporting climate change and sustainable development goals.

The UK will work, through the CGI and with the support of Mark Carney in his role as the PM’s Finance Adviser for COP26, to support the development of country partnership platforms to make it easier for vulnerable countries to get access to climate finance. The national-level platforms would coordinate between governments, donors, development banks and the private sector to connect the pipelines of green projects with funding and investments.

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