On Finance Day at COP28, GEFI was proud to convene over 300 delegates at its Path to COP28 Climate Finance Summit that took place in the DIFC Atrium on Monday 4th December 2023.

The summit was kicked off by Alya Al Zarouni, who welcomed delegates on behalf of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority, that earlier launched its Sustainable Finance Catalyst, a key part of the DIFC’s COP28 legacy that aims to grow sustainable finance flows from Dubai to $100 billion by 2030. GEFI’s Managing Director Omar Shaikh also welcomed delegates and reflected on the progress and success of the Path to COP28 campaign since its launch with the DIFC 14 months earlier.

Delegates heard powerful and inspiring Opening Keynotes from GEFI’s Chair, Dame Susan Rice on reframing the narrative toward financing our survival which was followed by Steven van Rijswijk, CEO of ING, Europe’s leading green bank who spoke about leading the transition by putting sustainability at the heart of banking. The final keynote was delivered by Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf who told an inspiring story of innovation, opportunity, and acknowledging the accomplishments and challenges of financing a just transition.

Jacinda Njike, Climate Champion Africa Finance Lead, moderated the opening panel on Transforming Finance at Pace and Scale, and was joined by Saker Nusseibeh, Federated Hermes, Sonja Gibbs, Institute of International Finance, and Mark Pieter de Boer, ING to discuss the current global outlook for climate finance and how institutions are steering financing towards Net Zero goals to expedite the energy transition.

The summit also included the aptly timed launch of Carbon Tracker Initiative’s updated report on Beyond Petrostates, which was presented by its Head of Oil, Gas and Mining, Mike Coffin who delivered a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of petrostates, highlighting the need for international support in diversifying economies. The findings and recommendations of the report were all the more important to comprehend in the turbulent negotiations that followed the summit.

Chris Hayward, City of London Corporation was joined by former Assistant Secretary-General of UN, Satya Tripathi and Lamia Merzouki, Casablanca Finance City, for a fireside chat on Climate Finance for the Global South, where they delved into the trust needed in the system to unlock the $100 billion annually towards developing countries and the extent to which green finance is scaling up within the global south.

The preceding presentation on Petrostates teed-up the penultimate panel on Advancing the Transition to Net Zero for Real Economy which saw London School of Economics’ Nick Robins moderate a discussion with Cara Williams, Mercer, Miles Celic, TheCityUK, Mona Naqvi, S&P Global, and Rasmus Bessing, PFA. Here, global institutions shared insights on investor actions to mitigate risks and seize opportunities associated with the climate transition, and what governments can do to provide long-term certainty for investors to help drive the net-zero transition.

The final panel of the summit focussed on Catalysing Finance for Climate Solutions where Accuracy’s David Chollet led a practical discussion with Naomi English, MSCI, Bruno Gardner, Phoenix Group, Eva Cairns, abrdn, and Maria Carvalho, NatWest. The audience heard perspectives from panellists representing different areas of the financial services sector on how innovative instruments can enhance risk-sharing through public-private partnerships and maximize the impact of scarce public funds, and what is being done to develop climate solutions to deploy capital across asset classes.

The summit’s Closing Keynote was delivered by Chartered Banker Institute’s CEO, Simon Thompson, who provided some thought-provoking remarks around engaging with all stakeholders and the importance of maintaining hope, which would be necessary for many later in the week.