Prestigious award recognises the C40 Cities Finance Facility’s innovative approach to addressing the cities’ climate finance gaps and urban finance gap

Today the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat announced the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) as a winner in the Financing for Climate Friendly Investment category of its prestigious 2020 Global Climate Action Awards.

Implemented by C40 and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the CFF has supported 20 projects across 17 cities and aggregated a potential $650 million investment in climate-proof urban infrastructure.

Already, the CFF has supported:

  • the construction of a 25km bicycle avenue in Bogotá, Colombia;
  • a 1000km long river management programme in Durban, South Africa;
  • the planned acquisition of 500 electric trolleybuses in Mexico City, Mexico by 2024;
  • and commitments to scale-up installation of solar PV systems from 50 to 5000 city owned buildings in Quezon City, Philippines.

Launched in 2015 at the Paris Climate Summit, the CFF seeks to bridge the gap between cities and financial institutions — helping city leaders to develop their climate-proof urban infrastructure plans so they are bankable and finance-ready. The CFF aims to empower cities to negotiate directly with financiers to create real and lasting change.

The CFF is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of the United Kingdom, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

While many city leaders are keen to develop sustainable and climate-proof infrastructure in order to tackle the climate crisis, they face an urban finance gap that limits their capacity to make their cities greener, healthier and more liveable. This is where CFF comes into play.

Their strategy is to provide technical assistance and capacity development support so city administrations can develop feasible, transformative and sustainable infrastructure projects ready to be financed. Key to the CFF’s solution is equipping city staff with the skills and structures they need to replicate the process and run future projects independently. Team members in all CFF partner cities ensure effective delivery of support, communication with the responsible municipal departments and coordination with local partners. The global knowledge and learning team then ensures lessons from the CFF cities are shared with other cities and institutions.

The UN Global Climate Action Award celebrates the CFF’s experience and commitment to helping cities realise transformational change that can make a real and concrete difference to the climate emergency. The CFF will receive the award at a ceremony on 11 December 2020, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement the following day.


Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities: “Cities worldwide are leading the urgent, inclusive response to the climate emergency – consistently demonstrating that ambitious climate action drives greater prosperity and improves public health. Securing solid investment for climate solutions in cities is absolutely vital in order to halve global emissions by 2030.

“We’re thrilled that the work of the C40 Cities Finance Facility is being recognised for its incredible impact, and will continue in its innovative approach to helping cities access finance for climate projects.”

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary: “The last eight months have been a nightmare for many throughout the world,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “COVID-19 has altered lives, economies and the nature of business on every continent—from the largest cities to the smallest villages. It is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.

“The convergence of these two crises has opened a window of opportunity to build forward—to build cities and communities that are safe, healthy, green and sustainable,” Ms. Espinosa added. “Nothing exemplifies this better than the efforts of our 2020 award-winning activities to address climate change.”

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General: “I congratulate the winners of the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Awards, who provide tangible proof that climate action is under way around the world,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “It is exciting to see these climate solutions, which reinforce my call for decisive leadership on climate change by governments, businesses and cities, and for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us keep pressing ahead to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”

Alok Sharma, COP26 President and UK Government’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “I am delighted that the C40 Cities Finance Facility, supported by the UK’s International Climate Finance, has been recognised for its efforts to make cities around the world greener.

“Whether it’s about creating better infrastructure for cyclists, increasing the use of electric cars or enabling access to clean energy in public facilities, cities play an important role in tackling climate change and we must continue to scale-up innovative actions that strengthen low-carbon economies in the run up to COP26.”

Carolina Hernandez Galeano, Senior Project Advisor, C40 Cities Finance Facility (GIZ), Bogotá, Colombia: “During the pandemic, biking became a tool to ease some of the problems created by COVID-19 in Bogotá, because cycling is as an almost contagion-free way of commuting. Our work with the CFF on the finance-ready ‘Medio Milenio’ cycle avenue made an immediate response possible.”, said Carolina Hernandez Galeano, CFF’s Senior Project Advisor in Bogotá, Colombia. “Thanks to the project preparation, our city partners put the route in place temporarily, by re-distributing one lane of the car-highway and reserving it for cyclists. Next year, it will be built to last.

“We are honoured to receive this award. It recognises the way we work in CFF – in close cooperation with Bogotá. That’s why we were able to realise this swift contribution to its green and inclusive recovery. This is a key feature of the CFF in general: achieving transformations beyond preparing the original climate action project. CFF paved the way for riding your bike as an inclusive means of transport and found ways for Bogotá to finance it – as a starting point for the next generation of cycling avenues.”

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