Champions Group on Adaptation Finance - Intervention of Ms. Hadja Lahbib - Sharm El Sheikh COP27


Dear COP 27 participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting Belgium to this event.

Before diving into numbers and actions taken by Belgium in favour of adaptation, I would like to make a general comment. I feel that fighting climate change and respecting our environment is also about respecting ourselves. Respect for dignity, for human rights, for the rule of law, needs to be an integral part of what we are trying to achieve. The diversity of  COP participants and the confrontation of their ideas can only contribute to its eventual success.

Belgium has its own challenges but we try to lead by example, also as far as good quality adaptation finance is concerned. For a while now, Belgium has focused the financial resources available for international climate finance on adaptation, African partner countries and least developed countries. In 2013-2020 Belgium has spent over 727 million EUR to support climate action globally, mostly through grants. 51% of that money was used to fund programs and projects that are mainly aimed at increasing resilience and addressing the impacts of climate change in developing countries.

When the new federal government took office in 2020 we decided to improve our efforts even more: in 2021 the federal government increased its annual international climate finance from 70 million EUR to 100 million EUR, bringing Belgium’s total annual climate finance to 125 million EUR. The Belgian government, through my colleague the Minister in charge of Development Cooperation will continue this growth path: by 2024 Belgium intents to contribute at least 138 million EUR. Our focus will remain on finance for adaptation.

Now, I would also like to say a few words about quality of climate finance.

First of all, we need ownership and partnership: using and strengthening countries own systems, policies and plans. The needs of our partners in the South should be the guiding principle.

Secondly, as I said earlier, supporting an inclusive approach, where also civil society organizations, local communities, women and young people can bring their voice to the table is key in our view. I want to stress again that respect for human dignity and human rights is an integral part of fighting the consequences of climate change.

Thirdly, it is also important to work towards a broader donor base. Additional finance has to be mobilised from all sources as it is a common responsibility.

A fourth point about quality would be to find ways to engage the private sector more to gather the necessary resources to tackle this massive challenge: public spending can only function as a supporter and an enabler. 

We have to pull resources together to address these issues, in a context were we build back better and greener after COVID, and in a difficult geopolitical context, coherently and effectively. Let’s build this better world we did imagine during the pandemic and let’s start doing it now. This would be what good quality adaptation looks like.

I thank you.