World leaders address the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 22, 2022. Reuters

The leaders of France, Spain, Barbados and Sierra Leone were among those to back a new coalition on Thursday aiming to accelerate the flow of climate-related finance to the world's poorest countries.

The "Power Our Planet: Act Today. Save Tomorrow" campaign led by non-profit group Global Citizen, said it was seeking to mobilize ordinary citizens to pressure leaders for a "seismic shift" in the way the world's financial system works, to help developing countries fight climate change and poverty.

Co-chaired by the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has long championed reform of the global financial system that she has dubbed the Bridgetown Initiative, the coalition of developed and developing countries seeks "bold" action.

"We must call on all institutions, including the World Bank to release the funds necessary to help the world's poorest countries to adapt, to transition, and to withstand the climate crisis, not tomorrow but now," Mottley said in recorded remarks.

She called on leaders of wealthy countries to make good on delivering $16 billion of climate finance they promised as part of a past pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year, a key stumbling block at global climate talks.

That reform will be central to a conference Mottley and French President Emmanuel Macron will host in France on June 22-23 on a new global financial pact, which will tackle reform of multilateral development banks (MDB), the debt crisis, the creation of new international taxes and financing instruments, and special drawing rights.

While an initial round of reforms of MDBs were agreed at the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she wanted to see more action in the coming months.

"We're demanding that it's time for accountability on past promises and bold, new commitments from world leaders. And we have a clear message for the heads of the World Bank and the IMF - it's time for major institutional reform, Global Citizen Chief Executive Hugh Evans said.

By encouraging millions of ordinary people around the world to join in, the group said it hopes more money will be made available to help countries shift to clean energy, bolster defenses against natural disasters, and invest in health, food, and education.