QUEZON CITY, 7 December 2021 — Sara Jane Ahmed, advisor to the Vulnerable 20 (V20) Group of Finance Ministers and founder of the Financial Futures Center (FFC), was recognized as one of the awardees of the Climate Breakthrough Project this year

Ahmed is the first Filipino and Bangladeshi to receive this award. She has authored studies on renewable energy, island grid transition, coal stranded asset risk, and the regulatory weaknesses of the Philippine power sector revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic back when she was with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). 

She has contributed so much to the climate and energy finance discourse in the country, and is now reinforcing this in developing countries through FFC and her role as advisor to the V20 and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). Ahmed is also currently a member of the Task Force on Climate, Development and the International Monetary Fund, a consortium of experts working to advance development-centered climate policy at the IMF.

The Climate Breakthrough Project, which was founded in 2015, selects promising leaders and champions in the international climate arena annually and provides funding that will support the awardees’ ambitious and innovative work in the succeeding years. This year’s awardees will receive USD 3 million each, and alongside Ahmed are Emerald Cities Collaborative President Denise Fairchild from the United States and Europe Beyond Coal Campaign Director Kathrin Gutmann from Germany.

Led by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in partnership with the Oak Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, the JPB Foundation, and the Good Energies Foundation, this initiative aims to contribute to global efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining the 1.5 degree warming threshold, as indicated in the Paris Agreement

Lauding this achievement is Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Manila-based think tank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC):

“Congratulations to all the recipients of this year’s Climate Breakthrough Awards! We are delighted to see that one of our colleagues, Sara Jane Ahmed, has been recognized for her remarkable work in the climate and energy realm. Her direct contributions to advancing the energy transition and pushing for sustainable climate and energy financing in developing nations, including the Philippines, show that this win is truly well deserved.

“Sara stood out because of her vision to address climate change by increasing resilience and pump priming a clean energy economy through the Climate Prosperity Plans (CPP) of the V20, a mechanism that opens resilient investment opportunities in the most climate-vulnerable countries.

“The CPPs send a very important message to global leaders – that climate action does not equate to decarbonization alone, and goes beyond commitments made in Nationally Determined Contributions. Transitioning to renewable energy, for instance, will free the people from high electricity bills and rotating blackouts due to the unreliability and intermittency of coal, and at the same time leads to a more sustainable and productive economy that invites more investments and creates more jobs. Advancing the energy transition primarily leads to energy security and not decarbonization alone.

“The path towards a true, resilient recovery for developing economies is intrinsically rooted in actual development needs of the working population. Pursuing resilience and addressing agriculture, food security, mobility, air and water quality, infrastructure, supply chains, and energy will upgrade everything and lead faster to decarbonization outcomes as a co-benefit and not necessarily as the main aim. This is the kind of thinking we need, because everything counts and everyone matters in this fight.

“The first CPP is already being rolled out in Bangladesh. The Climate Breakthrough Award can help scale up efforts and pursue the goal of implementing CPPs in the 40 most climate vulnerable nations by 2030. With her vision benefitting 55 countries with an estimated 1.3 billion people overall, Sara’s work truly signifies one of the biggest breakthroughs on climate action in the developing world.”

Sara Jane Ahmed co-wrote reports on renewable energy in small island grids and stranded coal assets that were published by ICSC and IEEFA back in 2017. ICSC is also working alongside her for CVF and V20 support work as ICSC executive director Red Constantino is a fellow advisor.

AC Dimatatac, ICSC: media@icsc.ngo, +63 998 546 9788, +63 917 149 5649