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Former World Leaders Sign Accord in Little Rock to Expand Climate Action Financing

by Don Knapp

This week former heads of state, including President Bill Clinton, met in Little Rock, AR, for the Club de Madrid's annual conference, and signed a partnership intended to help direct what could amount to a major new influx of private investment toward sustainable technology and climate change solutions. ICLEI USA leadership attended the meeting and provided consultation throughout the process. North Little Rock Mayor and ICLEI USA Chair of the Board Patrick Henry Hays played a key role the event.

The Little Rock Accord is an action plan to help direct private sector finance, such as pensions, toward actions and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate resilience and sustainability. The Accord formalizes a partnership between the Club de Madrid, a non-profit organization composed of more than 90 democratic former heads of state from over 60 countries, and the P80 Foundation.

Below is a summary of the Accord from event officials:

Drawing on the leadership and best practice experience of its Members - more than 90 democratic former Heads of State and Government from over 60 countries - and building upon the work of the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and the Cambridge University Program for Sustainability Leadership with the P8 and P80 pension fund investors, the Club de Madrid proposes to create a task force that would act to mobilize political will to increase the role of private sector finance, particularly that of pension and sovereign wealth funds in driving low carbon, climate resilient sustainable growth in developing countries. Such finance can be utilized to profitably deploy existing technologies which can help address increasing shortages of key resources needed for development, including energy, water, clean air, food and medical services.

Club de Madrid Members, in close collaboration with selected experts and advisors, will work directly on strengthening and supporting the implementation of P8 and P80 messages on the development of possible solutions to climate and sustainable development financing within the public sector (such as those proposed by the UK Department for International Development, Asia Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank). The task force would also work to ensure that opportunities for further investment and the removal of barriers to large-scale capital deployment are catalyzed.}

This Little Rock Accord will, for the first time in History, create a formal CdM-P80 Group Action Plan Agreement for former Presidents and Prime Ministers to work together with the P80, development banks, government leaders, NGOs and the private sector (in a public/private partnerships) to encourage managers of over $20 Trillion of pension and sovereign wealth fund assets to consider increasing investments devoted to accelerating deployment of proven technologies which will address growing resource shortages in areas such as energy, water, clean air and food.

Most observers believe that implementation of the Little Rock Accord will result in the largest investment commitment ever made to profitably benefit the global environment and sustainable economic development.
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