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COP27: Climate financing can’t be effective if trade policies are ignored, says Okonjo-Iweala

THE Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that climate financing cannot be effective if trade policies are ignored.

Okonjo-Iweala gave the warning while speaking at the COP27 Climate Conference in Egypt yesterday, November 8.

She described the gap between trade policies and climate adaptation as “a big missing piece.”

The former Vice President of World Bank and Nigeria Minister of Finance acknowledged the pledges made by countries and other international partners to mitigate the effects of climate change, but said restricting trade would negate achievements gained.

The United Kingdom had tripled its climate finance budget to £1.5 billion, while allocating £95 million to support climate-resilient agriculture in Nigeria.

Okonjo-Iweala, “The WTO doesn’t have money to announce but I’m pleased to hear the new financial commitments being made, thankful to all the donors.

“However, whilst financing is important, trade and policies can block everything. Trade policies and restrictions can be a bottleneck for money to work. By leaving out trade policy from what is being done on climate change side is a big missing piece.”

  According to the WTO DG, trade is often viewed as part of the problem but, in reality, is it part of the solution to climate change and food security. 

    She noted that trade provides food for one in every six people around the world and, therefore, has an important role in ensuring that food and other essential goods, such as fertiliser and climate adaptation goods, and services get to where they are needed.

   Okonjo-Iweala further urged governments to include trade elements in their national climate adaptation plans, saying they are the building blocks for implementing global climate goals at a national level.

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