September 10th, 2019

Ritz-Carlton Astana

Dear participants of the Green Growth Forum, ladies and gentlemen!

Today’s event takes place in an era of major push to advance the global development agenda. Together, the Paris Agreement on climate change, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the SDGs create a pathway for the world to transition towards zero-carbon and climate-resilient development. 

Green Growth is the signpost for a crossroad in this pathway- for a path towards a sustainable future as it foresees fostering economic development while safeguarding the environment on which our well-being relies.

We are glad that the green economy concept is owned and monitored at the highest level here in this country. Kazakhstan clearly stated its readiness to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Paris and is strenuously working towards ambitious targets of the Green Economy Concept.

We, as UNDP, witness the commitment to deliver firsthand as part of Green Economy Council, chaired by the Prime Minister. We already see the openness in this structure to new ideas and international experience when we offer them.

Guided by this overall leadership and commitment, we note that over the past years, Kazakhstan has taken significant steps and made investments to advance towards green economy.

So, we have a framework for action globally as well as nationally. The commitment is also there. This is great… but it is not enough.

Without financing this transformation, what we stand to lose is immense and immeasurable in the face of climate change.

For example, despite all these promising trends and serious actions taken, recent estimations show that underinvestment seriously limits the Green Economy Concept implementation in the country. Long term green funding gap may average 2.3 bln USD per year. It is clear that an update and a reset of the financial architecture based on environment concerns are required.

The key question then is how to further enhance Green Economy agenda through establishment and development of a strong Green finance system in the country, creating favorable investment environment for green business uptake.

Today, our task is to create a sustainable system for supporting the financing of green projects and programs. This requires Government and financial institutions to work together for the development of the regulatory framework in support of green investments through appropriate programs and plans.

We at UNDP, are ready to provide support and mobilize international expertise and resources to support such efforts. This means facilitating affordable, scalable solutions to accelerate transition to cleaner, more resilient economy. We would like to make our best contribution to enhance the existing vision and concrete plans of green development in the country through a number of UNDP initiatives.

In line with this view, UNDP, together with National government and international organizations, is launching a new project this year to support Nationally Determined Contributions to support growing climate ambitions of Kazakhstan. This project will help implement those strong and ambitious international commitments at the national level with the most effective solutions.

We build our current engagement on our ongoing and past experience with Kazakhstan.

At the policy level, we have contributed to the development of the Concept for the transition to green economy in 2013, and have been continuously supporting its implementation ever since.

Kazakhstan will also benefit from the Global Programme «Partnership for action on green economy» (PAGE), which is at its initial stage of development. This network of 5 UN Agencies provides technical advice, analysis and capacity building support for accelerated progress in the transition to a green economy model.

Specifically on financing, within our work on Green Finance solutions we have introduced carbon offset mechanisms with one of the largest private companies in the world (registering unaccounted forests and planting additional forests, with a plan for global scaling). For the first time in Kazakhstan, a private company will invest in an environmental project to balance its own carbon footprint.

Also UNDP Kazakhstan successfully tested financial incentives for energy saving for small and medium sized enterprises: we partnered with SMEs to introduce financial mechanism for attracting investment into low carbon projects (through PPP, ESCO agreements), that already brought 48 million USD of investments for 71 projects with potential to reduce 1.1 million lifetime CO2 emissions.

According to our estimations, 1 tenge of subsidy mobilizes approx. 17 tenge of private investments, generating tax return increase and creation of green jobs within the energy service projects. Thus, green economy is not only about costs, but is also about opportunities, generating economic growth, supporting SMEs and creating «green» jobs. This year we are going to scale up this mechanism to small-scale renewables sector.

We are also considering acceleration of  «green business» within the framework of the innovation lab, part of which could be the study of issues of green bonds for investment in projects aimed at promoting green technologies.

At this Forum, we will present our work experience and results in different sections, as well as discuss, together with the Forum participants, other options for solving the problems of developing green financing. We are looking forward to such an exchange and discussions.

On that note, I wish the participants of the Forum fruitful work and thank you for your attention.

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