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Ghana selected as host country for CVF/V20 global secretariat

The Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers announced Ghana’s selection on Thursday (21 September)

Governments of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), representing 1.74 billion people and US$3.8 trillion in gross domestic product, as well as the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers (V20), have selected Ghana to be the host country for the proposed independent global secretariat of the group, which has now been declared a fully fledged treaty organisation.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers announced the nomination at a meeting on Thursday (21 September 2023) on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to amplify their call for climate prosperity and debt sustainability.

The CVF meeting was co-organised by the V20, represented by its chair, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and sponsored by Ghana’s permanent mission to the UN. Other ministers and high-ranking officials of CVF and V20 members, key partner countries and philanthropic agencies also joined the meeting at the UN headquarters.

Representatives of Rwanda and Sri Lanka at the CVF meeting

Member governments adopted the CVF Leaders’ Declaration, whose demands include a call for the establishment of a fully independent secretariat for the CVF and the V20.

Ghana’s commitment

In his address as the current chairman of the Climate Vulnerable Forum before the group presented its declaration, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that the group’s meeting was timely because it would enable the CVF to formalise the first step towards establishing full independence for the CVF.

The CVF/V20 has done this by approving the declaration, which demonstrates the intention and will of member nations, sets out the mandate of the independent secretariat, and empowers it to hire, manage financial resources and sign host country agreements on behalf of its member states.

“The decision to establish an independent secretariat for the CVF/V20 was announced in April at the conclusion of the 10th Ministerial Dialogue of the V20 during the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, with significant public support from our partners including the World Bank Group and the IMF,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Governments of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers met at the 78th UNGA

“To see this through, Ghana commits US$1 million to host the headquarters of the independent secretariat for the first year, as the various structures of the secretariat get established, to ensure that we build a strong institution that has robust governance structures and resources,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Monumental development

In an interview with Asaase News after the CVF-V20 meeting, Ken Ofori-Atta said the group’s decision to become an international organisation is monumental. The Finance Minister also said it excites him that the meeting and the choice of Ghana as the host country for the secretariat happened on the birthday of Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.

“This group has now, through a declaration by President Akufo-Addo, agreed to be an international organisation which will become the strongest collection of nations that will be advocating for a way in this climate crisis to get around it and ensure that there is fair treatment,” Ofori-Atta said.

Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister and chairman of the V20, addresses the CVF meeting

“The agreement is that the hosting of the headquarters will be in Ghana, which means that [Ghana is] then going to lead the charge for climate issues.

“Climate issues are going to be with us for a long time, so this is a very important achievement by the president,” Ofori-Atta said.

Other CVF/V20 proposals

In the declaration, the CVF/V20 also calls for recognition of the CVF’s Vulnerable Twenty Group of Finance Ministers as an official group within the International Monetary Fund.

Also on the demand list: “Tripling of multilateral development bank resources while enabling regional institutions and strategies to crowd in private sector participation to deliver US$1 trillion per year, as well as the shifting of financial resources away from brown investments that undermine climate action, in order for the world to meet global ambitions on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development.

“Addressing the rapidly growing debt risks and immediate liquidity needs of vulnerable countries, recognising that the V20 Group alone has accumulated US$686 billion in total external public debt, amounting to 27% of the Group’s GDP.

“Acceleration of a just energy transition that promotes equity and inclusion alongside job creation and infrastructure growth and increasing funding for adaptation and loss and damage from climate-related disasters and growing climate-fuelled risks.

“Protection of economies from climate impacts through the V20 and G7 Global Shield against Climate Risks and other prearranged and trigger-based finance and insurance tools.”

About the CVF/V20

The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet. The Forum serves as a South-South co-operation platform for participating governments to act together to counter global climate change.

Ghana is the current chair of the CVF and its V20 Group of Finance Ministers, a dedicated co-operation initiative of economies systematically vulnerable to climate change.

Both the CVF and V20 are composed of 68 countries, representing some 1.74 billion people and US$3.8 trillion in annual GDP.

Member states

The member states of the CVF/V20 in Africa and the Middle East are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana (chair), Guinea, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Palestine (as a UN non-member observer), Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Yemen.

In Asia-Pacific, the member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

The CVF/V20 members in Latin America and the Caribbean are Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haïti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare

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