The UK hosted a virtual Climate and Development Ministerial meeting on March 31, 2021, to address the climate challenges facing the poorest countries in the world, ahead of COP26, the annual UN climate conference which the UK will host this year (November 2021) in Glasgow.
The ministerial meeting brought foreign, development, and climate ministers from around the world together virtually, along with representatives from development banks. The meeting was focused on:
- Improving responses to climate impacts, with a focus on coordination and international cooperation to address losses and damages related to climate change;
- Improving debt relief and alleviating fiscal pressure to enable low-income countries to address the climate crisis; and
- Enabling more and better climate finance to help countries adapt to and mitigate climate change.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Minister, Dominic Raab, who attended the meeting, called for a greater volume of climate finance to help vulnerable and poor countries, as well as debt relief to help increase their fiscal space for addressing climate challenges. Raab pointed out that there is an opportunity to ensure that efforts to build up economies after the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis support a green recovery.
Earlier in the week, Lord Ahmad, a UK Minister for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, spoke at the UN's 'Meeting of Heads of State and Government on the International Debt Architecture and Liquidity'. Ahmad noted that the UK would use both its G7 Presidency and its hosting of COP26 to push for further debt relief action. In particular, he highlighted the need for the G7 to push for a general issuance of Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide financial support to low-income countries, the need to establish a common framework that brings all official and private-sector creditors together to deliver coordinated debt treatments, and the need for increased transparency of sovereign debt.