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With gaps in funding identified as a top barrier to the progress of resilient, climate-informed infrastructure, the launch of the City Climate Finance Gap Fund marks a major milestone towards overcoming barriers progress for resilient infrastructure.

Launched at Climate Week NYC, the Gap Fund is an initiative of the governments of Germany and Luxembourg together with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCOM), in partnership with several other key players in the climate finance arena (including C40, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance). It will be implemented by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank. At today’s launch, the partners came together to lead a discussion on the role of partnerships and targeted finance in driving forward climate-informed urbanisation and resilient infrastructure.


The Gap Fund has been created to target one of the largest barriers to taking action on climate resilient infrastructure; attracting and securing financing and support for projects to be implemented, aimed at unlocking over 4 billion euros of investment. See more about the Gap Fund.

Ensuring short term and long term benefits of infrastructure

With COVID-19 presenting new opportunities and a push for quick action on infrastructure spending, the Gap Fund launch focused on how partnerships across the infrastructure supply chain can enable that the right projects to be picked. This targeted approach will support the funding and design of projects, ensuring they provide the short-term benefits of construction and the long-term benefits of sustainability and resilience in urban areas.

Barriers to funding and financing of infrastructure, was identified as one of the top four barriers to action on sustainable infrastructure at last year’s Future World Vision Leadership summit, chaired by Resilience Shift Executive Director, Seth Schultz. In particular, cities in developing and emerging countries face acute barriers to realising climate ambitions and turning low-carbon urbanisation plans into finance-ready investments.

Engineers support Gap Fund through Financing Action Track

Recognising this and the need for technical input to overcome financing gaps, the Resilience Shift has joined a global coalition of engineers along with the Global Covenant of Mayors in creating the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI) to advise the Gap Fund in the design of the fund and criteria for project selection. ICSI’s Financing Action Track is further supporting the development of sustainable and resilient project concepts and establishing standards for projects to be considered by the GAP Fund.

Rapid urbanisation expected to continue post-COVID

Though COVID produced a brief stop gap in urban activity, rapid urbanisation is expected to continue through to the middle of the century. We expect some of the most exciting solutions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact will be written in cities, particularly those in the developing world. However, 75% of infrastructure needed for this is yet to be built according to the President of the European Investment Bank at today’s Gap Fund Launch.

With support from ICSI and a global coalition of governments, policy makers and urban leaders, the Gap Fund is a major step forward to ensure that infrastructure which embeds resilience and climate mitigation in urban environments will progress from ideas to action, with the technical support needed to make them a success.

A successful launch

The launch of the Gap Fund launch brought together some of the most senior champions and thought-leaders in the development of climate-smart for a discussion on the role of partnerships and targeted finance in driving forward climate-informed urbanization, particularly in the context of pandemics like COVID-19. Speakers included Germany Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Norbert Barthle, Luxembourg Minister for the Environment Carole Dieschbourg, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer, World Bank Managing Director Mari Pangestu, Germany Federal Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze, Mayor of Chefchaouen and GCoM Board Member Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Surabaya and GCoM Board Member Tri Rismaharini, GCoM Global Ambassador Gregor Robertson, and Dr. Shannon Bouton (McKinsey).

See more Climate Week NYC: The City Climate Finance Gap Fund Launch (23 September (3:30-4:30pm CEST)

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