NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NDF’s debate game arguably good fun at COP 24

Photo: Joel Sheakoski
Photo: Joel Sheakoski
Photo: Joel Sheakoski
Photo: Joel Sheakoski

NDF’s unique Debate Game was staged at the UN climate conference COP 24 Nordic Pavilion as part of the Nordic Finance Day, jointly developed by NEFCO, NIB and NDF, and hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Should climate finance be directed to innovation? On Tuesday 12 December, 2018, the Nordic Development Fund invited COP24 participants to pit their ideas against each other in a unique debate game. The event was lauded as a welcome shift from the usual one-way communication model that characterises conference gatherings

Debate statement: Climate finance should primarily be directed to innovation in order to hold temperature rise to 1.5˚C.

Moderator, NDF Manager Emeli Möller began the event by framing the topic in opening remarks. To set the scene for the debate, NDF Acting Managing Director Leena Klossner continued with presenting NDF’s newly minted study exploring the role of challenge funds in spurring innovative climate solutions prepared by NDF. One of its findings is that innovations can take many forms and there is space for innovation on a number of fronts.

The two teams were then given a preparation period before presenting their opening arguments. This was followed by a midway pause for OECD’s Deputy Director Anthony Cox to take the floor and give an unbiased recapture of the ideas presented so far - giving food for thought for the second round of the debate.

Proponents versus Opponents
Those arguing in favour of the statement made the overarching case that if we are going to reach Paris goals, climate finance should be focused on innovation. In presenting their arguments, the proponents did take licence on how innovation could be defined. They did not limit innovation to technological advancement but also expressing innovation in other ways, such as financing new projects with unique, innovative partnering approaches or new types of service delivery models.

Their opponents, arguing against the debate statement, focused more on the urgency of climate action and the consequent need for an immediate and comprehensive action plan. We have all the technologies and solutions we need to succeed, they contended. Now it’s time for action.

Talking about the event, Mads Randbøll Wolff, Project leader for the Nordic Pavilion,  with the Nordic Council of Ministers said: “We have an ambition in our Nordic cooperation to be engaging, dialogue-based and inclusive. Only a few people dare to step outside of their comfort zone. And that’s what I liked about this event, it dared!”

Following closing remarks from both teams, a panel of judges made up of Hyoeun Jenny Kim, Deputy General Secretary of the Global Green Growth Initiative; Linus Mofor, Senior Environmental Affairs Officer of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; and NDF’s Acting Managing Director, Leena Klossner put their heads together to decide the winner. Teams were assessed based on how convincingly they presented their arguments, with points also given for creativity and presentation. Even though the proponents, arguing for directing more financing to innovation won narrowly, both teams were energised and engaged, and ultimately in agreement.

Everyone given a voice
Leena Klossner said: “by the nature of this group game, everyone was compelled to contribute, which meant we could come closer to capturing the sum total of knowledge and experience of the room.” With the topic of innovation and climate finance at the core of NDF’s mission, Klossner also noted that ideas brought forth by the 20 participants could serve to inform her organisation’s future work.

The participatory event was arranged in the spirit of the Talanoa dialogue, launched by Fiji during their 2017 COP23 presidency as a facilitative dialogue to take stock of the collective efforts of countries towards long-term climate goals. Talanoa is a word used in Fiji to reflect the process of inclusive and participatory dialogue, which involves sharing of ideas and experience through storytelling.