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Bonn bulletin: Crunch time for climate finance

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Bonn bulletin: Crunch time for climate finance

Money talks

With the agenda adopted last Monday, negotiators on the post-2025 finance goal – known as the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) – started exchanging opinions on a 63-page draft text.  

At this early stage – with the NCQG due to be agreed at COP29 in Baku in November – many countries are keeping suggestions on specific figures close to their chest, particularly as the UN is due to release a needs determination report in October which will offer guidance.

But the Arab Group has put forward a figure of $1.1 trillion a year from 2025 to 2029. Of this, $441 billion should be public grants and the rest should be money mobilised from other sources, including loans offered at rates cheaper than the market.

The group, backed on this by the G77+China, has even suggested how developed countries could raise that sum – through a 5% sales tax on developed countries’ fashion, tech and arms companies – plus a financial transaction tax.

Military emissions account for 5% of the global total, said Saudi Arabia’s negotiator. This surprised many observers, as Saudi Arabia is the world’s fourth-biggest per capita spender on the military and gets much of its equipment from Western arms companies.

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But developed countries insist they can’t stump up all the money and are asking for help. The EU’s negotiator said the NCQG should be a “global effort” while Canada’s said it should come from a “broad set of contributors”. In other words, wealthier and more polluting developing nations like the Gulf nations should also play their part.

But developing countries remain, at least publicly, united against these attempts to differentiate between them. They say developed countries have the money – it’s just a question of whether they have the “political will to prioritise climate change”.

The other emerging divide is whether to include a sub-target for loss and damage in the NCQG. Developing countries want this but developed countries are opposed.

Asked why, the EU’s negotiator told Climate Home the Paris Agreement “does not provide any basis for liability or compensation”, and that climate finance under the NCQG should consist only of two categories: mitigation and adaptation.

The talks’ co-chairs – Australian Fiona Gilbert and South African Zaheer Fakir have slimmed down the sprawling 63-page document they presented to Bonn into a mere 45-page one. Negotiators will continue hashing it out this week. Talks continue (and are livestreamed) at 3-5 pm today and tomorrow.

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FGS Global names global chief financial and operating officer

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FGS Global names global chief financial and operating officer

Mark Harris (pictured) will join FGS Global in September and succeed Ajay Junnarkar, the global CFO who has held the role since October 2019.

Harris is currently executive vice-president and CFO at Nasdaq-listed Heidrick & Struggles. He previously held senior finance roles in the US and Asia at investment firms Hercules Capital and Avenue Capital Group, and earlier at Hutchison Telecoms and outsourcing business VSource Pty.

At FGS Global, Harris will oversee all aspects of the finance function and the Global Technology team, the agency said, and “enhance the firm’s operations by leading our global operating committee”.

Harris will report directly to global chief executive Alex Geiser, who said: “With nearly three decades of experience, Mark’s proven track record of success overseeing global finance operations in numerous industries, including professional service organisations, will be instrumental as we continue to build the leading communications advisory firm for the stakeholder economy.”

FGS, the global strategic advisory and comms firm founded in its current form in December 2021, after the merger of Finsbury Glover Hering and Sard Verbinnen, received new investment in April 2023 from private equity firm KKR in a deal that valued the consultancy at $1.425bn. Finsbury Glover Hering was earlier formed from the merger of WPP stablemates Finsbury, The Glover Park Group and Hering Schuppener.

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Roland Rudd, global co-chair of FGS and one of the founders, said: “On behalf of everyone at FGS, I thank Ajay for his valuable contributions to the company. Ajay made a positive and lasting impact on our business, helping lead FGS through a period of growth and transformation following the combination of Finsbury, The Glover Park Group, Hering Schuppener and Sard Verbinnen – and through the growth investment by KKR in April 2023.”

Harris said: “FGS is a unique consultancy that offers clients a strategic communications and advocacy partner that helps leadership teams navigate complexity, and I am excited and honored to be joining the team at this pivotal time. I look forward to working closely with the executive team and board to help accelerate financial and operational growth and expansion for the next chapter of the business.”

Global revenue at FGS Global grew eight per cent in 2023 to $455.4m, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report.

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Councilwoman calling for No Confidence vote on Nashville’s finance, law directors over ‘mishandling’ of funds

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Councilwoman calling for No Confidence vote on Nashville’s finance, law directors over ‘mishandling’ of funds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – A Metro City Council member is filing a No Confidence resolution for the city’s finance and law directors for “their mishandling of Metro Arts grant funding due to personal grievances and personal relationships.”

Councilwoman Joy Styles has filed the resolution after accusing Metro Director of Finance Kevin Crumbo and Metro Director Wallace Dietz of allegedly mishandling the funds.

Styles claims the Metro Arts grants distribution process was stunted by the duo while they slandered the reputations of the former Metro Arts Executive Director, Executive Director of the Metro Human Relations Commission and a council member.

“The application of equitable award distribution has been at the heart of the chaos,” Styles said in a press release. Several applicants still have not been paid and are required to use their awards by the end of fiscal year 2024, June 30th. The confusion has broken the trust between the city and the arts community and needs to repaired. Accountability and correction is necessary.”

Styles, Arts Equity members, community activists and other council members are set to hold a press conference on Tuesday evening.

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“A culture change is overdue within Metro Nashville government as it pertains to race, equity and anti-racism practices, and the individuals that maintain status quo problems cannot be the same individuals to provide solutions,” Styles said.

Councilwoman Styles, an artist, Elisheba Mrozik and former Metro employee Mike Lacy are set to speak at the press conference.

“Arts Equity Nashville formed in response to severe and deep and manufactured inequities in arts funding in Nashville. That is how we know we are on the right side of history, so we keep up this fight and support Council Member Joy Styles’ resolution of No Confidence in Wally Dietz and Kevin Crumbo for their disrespect towards artists and their allies, their lack of compliance with Title VI and civil rights law, and their continued overreach in dismembering democratic procedures,” Arts Equity Nashville said.

WSMV4 has reached out to both Crumbo and Dietz for comment. Dietz responded with no comment to the councilwoman’s call for a press conference.

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Structured Finance Pros Rejoin King & Spalding From Milbank – Law360 Pulse

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Structured Finance Pros Rejoin King & Spalding From Milbank – Law360 Pulse

Two attorneys from Milbank LLP are returning to King & Spalding LLP in New York just over a year after they departed the firm….

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