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UN bodies work to boost climate tech innovation for achieving the Paris Agreement

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On 15 March 2018, the UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee (TEC), Climate Technology Centre and Network(CTCN), and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) held a dialogue to explore how to catalyse support for developing country entrepreneurs to develop climate technologies.

“Climate technology brings us closer to the goal of the Paris Agreement”, said the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa.

Focusing on climate technology incubators and accelerators, the organizers brought together experts from around the world to identify how these UN bodies can provide technological support and climate finance to developing country entrepreneurs. The dialogue was held at the UN in Bonn, Germany under the title “Boosting climate technology incubators and accelerators in developing countries”.

The dialogue identified key issues related to supporting such efforts. It also contributed to informing the secretariat of the Green Climate Fund as it develops a request for proposals on climate technology incubators and accelerators, which the Board of the Green Climate Fund will consider later in 2018.

For instance, during the event experts noted that incubators and accelerators are important parts of a country’s innovation ecosystem, reducing the risk that entrepreneurs face in developing new climate technologies. National strategies and plans, regulations, and supporting policies provide the necessary conditions for an incubator to flourish. Strategic financing can also play a key role in unlocking further investment for such institutions.

In this context, Ms. Carolina Fuentes of the GCF mentioned that the fund is currently supporting projects which accelerate tech innovation, including a project in Kenya and Rwanda for small renewable energy companies. They are now exploring how to build on this experience working with incubators, including in the area of adaptation to climate change, on how to strengthen private sector involvement, and on how such efforts can catalyse low-emission transformationin developing countries.

The dialogue was opened by the Chair of the TEC, Ms. Claudia Octaviano; the Head of Governance Affairs of the GCF, Carolina Fuentes; and the Director of the CTCN, Jukka Uosukainen. It gathered policy-makers, clean technology experts, entrepreneurs, NGOs and members of academia.

Sharing experiences

A number of experts with experience on the ground participated, including representatives and entrepreneurs from Chile, Ghana, India, Thailand, the World Bank Group, and the EU. Ms. Rukayatu Sanusi, CEO of the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre, expressed the need to make entrepreneurship inclusive and successful, for example being flexible with mothers. Mr. Harish Hande, entrepreneur and cofounder of the Indian solar energy company SELCO, shared that he would like to see incubators and accelerators reduce inequality, while also achieving benefits for the climate. “How can the poor be innovators themselves?”, he asked.

The beginning of a new collaboration

The joint event by these bodies highlights a new level of collaboration and linkage between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism. Such enhanced collaboration will play a key role in supporting developing countries to implement their nationally determined contributions for achieving the Paris Agreement. The TEC and the CTCN, as technology experts, are helping to inform the GCF on key technology issues as the GCF explores how to support countries with financing to address these issues.

Why support Incubators and Accelerators?

Icubators and accelerators are “innovation labs” that support startups and entrepreneurs in developing new innovative technologies. They are more than just co-working spaces to test ideas, as they have mentors helping entrepreneurs to develop their inventions to greater maturity by providing them with training, guidance and networking.
They also guide entrepreneurs with building partnerships, developing business models and accessing fundraising. Incubators can be important helping new innovative technologies to survive and succeed. They thus play an important role in supporting new low-emission and climate-resilient technologies to be used through-out the world.

For more information on the event, please visit: http://unfccc.int/ttclear/events/2018_event2

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