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Labanya Prakash Jena

New regional adviser deployed to unlock climate finance in Indo-Pacific

14 December 2021

The Commonwealth Secretariat has deployed a regional climate finance adviser to focus on mobilising funds for renewable energy and sustainable land management projects in the Indo-Pacific region.

Labanya Prakash Jena commenced his tenure as the new Commonwealth Regional Climate Finance Adviser in October, based at the International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters in Gurugram, India.

His role builds on an MOU between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the ISA signed in 2019 which is aimed at promoting the development and scaling-up of solar energy within the 34 member countries common to both organisations.

Solar off-grid projects

Mr Jena will be expected to drive the creation of the ISA-Commonwealth Solar Investment Platform, with the purpose of financing and developing solar off-grid projects in the Indo-Pacific region.

He will also develop a robust pipeline of project proposals for low carbon and climate resilience projects to be submitted to various climate finance sources and build up national and regional capacity in this area.

The Head of the Climate Change Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Unnikrishnan Nair, said: “This collaborative effort with the ISA closely aligns with the crucial work being undertaken under several flagship programmes, including the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH), the IPP Commonsensing project and the Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands.

“I am certain that with a new Commonwealth Regional Climate Finance Adviser now serving the Indo-Pacific region, we will be able to break new ground, in particular for Asian and Pacific member countries that have requested our support to access climate finance.”

World-class network

Mr Jena will be part of a world-class network of experts under the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, created to unlock available funding to support climate action in small and vulnerable member states.

This is achieved by embedding highly qualified long-term advisers in national governments and regional institutions to help develop grant proposals, build human and institutional capacity, provide technical advice, and facilitate knowledge-sharing.

To date, the CCFAH has deployed 16 advisers in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, and mobilised more than US$44.8 million in climate finance, with US$762 million worth of projects in the pipeline.

Before his appointment, Mr Jena was the climate finance manager at the Climate Policy Initiative office in New Delhi. In a former role as Sustainable Finance Consultant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he also helped to develop India’s sustainable finance roadmap in association with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

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