DUBAI - Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre of the United Nations (ITC), underscored the crucial need for small businesses to access financing for climate action. She highlighted that only 1.7% of climate financing goes to small farmers in developing countries, and less than 3% of total climate funding supports the least developed nations.

Speaking on the sidelines of the COP28 to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), she underscored the significance of small businesses, constituting the backbone of many developing countries.

Dr. Coke-Hamilton pointed out that nearly 70% of small African businesses perceive significant environmental risks, yet less than 40% can address these challenges. She called for knowledge transfer, technology exchange, and training programmes to empower local communities and governments to implement sustainable practices and adaptation strategies.

Regarding the COP28 negotiations, she said that the ITC and the Green Climate Fund have signed a letter of intent to collaborate to further support developing countries in leveraging trade and the private sector for climate action in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, and building resilience.

Expressing optimism about COP28's support for developing nations, Coke-Hamilton considered the commitments a good start. She stressed the need to channel funds in a way that supports small businesses in small islands and African countries. She urged more efforts to support developing countries in taking climate action by addressing key challenges: capacity, capital, and closing the funding gap by working with banks and small businesses to mitigate risks and improve their operations.

Dr. Hamilton exemplified the "Sankofa" project's application in Ghana, the world's second-largest cocoa exporter boasting 3.5 million farmers—a massive number.

She highlighted the concerning deforestation trend resulting from cocoa farming practices, leading to dwindling cocoa yields. To counter this, the project, named Sankofa, focused on collaborating with a significant body: a coalition of 100,000 farmers from the largest cocoa union and Ghana's Cocoa Development Board.

Dr. Hamilton emphasised the necessity for a just transition, advocating for fairness, justice, and equality. She urged the implementation of measures that guarantee equal access to opportunities within climate solutions, aiming to address their impacts equitably and ensure that everyone benefits.