- COP28 Statement by Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development
COP28 Statement by Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development
As we approach the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change — hosted by our member state, the United Arab Emirates — I would like to highlight how the mission and vision of the OPEC Fund for International Development align with the goals of our development partners and how our operations contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
Our mission is inspired by South-South Cooperation. Only by joining efforts and working together are we able to “drive development, strengthen communities and empower people”. The work of the OPEC Fund is people-centered, aiming to reinforce self-reliance and ultimately achieve “a world where sustainable development is a reality for all”. A world where no one is left behind: where every man, woman and child has the chance to fulfill their potential.
I strongly believe that close cooperation — in other words, supporting policy dialogue, building community resilience, nurturing partnerships and, crucially for COP28, boosting climate finance — will enable us to achieve our shared objectives. To put this in context: A November 2023 report from the UN Environment Programme says that developing countries will need over US$385 billion per year to fulfil their domestic adaptation priorities.
Equity: the key to climate action
The energy transition is the heart of the matter. To be globally sustainable, however, this transition must be just, equitable and inclusive — leaving no one behind. That is our strategic approach for protecting people and planet at a critical point in history.
The OPEC Fund has taken steps to promote climate resilience as part of our broader commitment to sustainable development. Key to this is our Climate Action Plan, adopted in 2022, as part of which the OPEC Fund is dedicating 40 percent of all new financing to climate-related investments by 2030. Against the 40 percent target, we already achieved 33 percent by the end of 2022 and have strategies in place to enhance climate action across our investment portfolio.
The OPEC Fund has been particularly active in the following areas:
Boosting Climate Finance (SDGs 7 and 13)
- We have become a major sponsor of renewable energy projects. Examples include the award-winning Kom Ombo solar photovoltaic plant in Egypt, the Tafile wind farm in Jordan, the Khizi-Absheron wind power project in Azerbaijan, and two wind farms in Uzbekistan. One third of our energy portfolio today is in renewables.
- Supporting climate-related initiatives through funding, grants and concessional loans aimed at promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate-resilient infrastructure development in developing countries.
- Investing in renewable energy projects and sustainable energy solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the transition to low-carbon energy sources, thus contributing to global efforts to mitigate climate change.
- Providing financial and technical support for climate adaptation initiatives that enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems to the adverse impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events and sea-level rise.
- Mobilizing and facilitating access to finance, technical assistance and knowledge resources through the OPEC Fund Climate Finance and Energy Innovation Hub established in 2022, and our Energy Access and Climate Action Trust Fund approved in September 2023.
- The loss of biodiversity, globally, is one of the critical factors exacerbating Climate Change; we are witnessing the continual loss of natural and critical habitats, living species, terrestrial, marine and aquatic ecosystems. In response, the OPEC Fund is actively promoting Nature-Based-Solutions through robust partnerships, fund mobilization and capacity building.
Building Community Resilience (SDG 11)
- Fostering community-based climate resilience projects that empower local communities to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change, fostering sustainable livelihoods, and promoting environmentally friendly practices.
- Supporting the transfer of innovative technologies and best practices in climate change mitigation and adaptation to developing countries, while facilitating the adoption of sustainable and climate-resilient solutions for long-term environmental sustainability.
Supporting Policy Dialogue (SDG 16)
- Advocating robust climate policies, international cooperation, and multilateral dialogue to build a conducive global environment for addressing climate change, promoting inclusive and sustainable development, and ensuring the well-being of future generations.
Nurturing Partnerships (SDG 17)
- We were instrumental in mobilizing a US$24 billion climate action package launched by the Arab Coordination Group at COP27, which is currently being implemented.
- Helping partners strengthen institutional capacity, policy frameworks, and regulatory mechanisms for addressing climate change challenges and implementing sustainable development practices.
- Working with the International Atomic Energy Agency, we are also establishing a seed bank to promote food security in the Arab region, complementing earlier programs carried out with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
- The OPEC Fund has also pursued efforts with major partners including SEforALL and UNIDO to promote access to clean cooking in sub-Saharan Africa.
The OPEC Fund will be organizing multiple side events at COP28, while hosting a pavilion in the Blue Zone in close proximity to partner countries and peer development banks. Through our presence we aim to reinforce partnerships, seal new agreements, and share tangible progress towards all our goals — while demonstrating strong support for the UAE COP28 Presidency.