From left: Dr. Luke Forau, Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Solomon Islands; Lorraine Seeto, Chief Manager Governor's Office, Reserve Bank of Fiji; Dr. Alfred Hannig, AFI Executive Director; and Nafitalai Cakacaka, General Manager Business Risk Services, Fiji Development Bank.
2018-11-27

Integrating financial inclusion and climate change in global debate and Nadi Action Agenda agreed by AFI members at first Green Financial Inclusion conference in Fiji

Capacity building, strengthening communications and advocacy, country groupings, and increased diplomacy are needed to integrate financial inclusion and climate change in global discourse on both topics, concluded participants during the final day of the “Smart Polices for Green Financial Inclusion” international conference in Nadi, Fiji.

AFI’s Green Financial Inclusion workstream is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), based on the decision of the German Bundestag.  

“We have seen there is high demand in capacity building. Members have strong interest in policy areas like environmental risk management and insurance. We see a couple of new workstreams in the network where we are going to put more effort,” AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig said on 27 November 2018, following two days of discussions on green financial inclusion.

Participants emphasized strengthening the role of communication to keep up the momentum on deep links between financial inclusion and climate change. “We need to consolidate our communication efforts to bring what we have learnt in financial inclusion to the global climate change debate.  We are thinking about information notes, knowledge pieces, case studies, dissemination of information that can help us raise awareness beyond the AFI network,” Dr. Hannig said.

Delegates highlighted that countries should come together to articulate their specific needs, but also that there might be other types of groupings within and beyond AFI, which the Alliance can tap into as a potential resource for assistance.

“We have to look at the country groupings in our network where there is consensus and common denominators. There are small islands states who often share similar issues and challenges but are not represented in the global space the same way they are organized in the AFI network,” Dr. Hannig said.

He explained that the small island states from the Pacific Region are represented by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Regional Initiative (PIRI), but the Alliance also includes countries like the Bahamas, Seychelles and Maldives.

“We are now thinking of organizing some type of groupings that can help us bring their issues into the global discussions — this is a useful and potentially very successful way in building momentum,” AFI Executive Director, Dr. Hannig added.

Diplomacy in developing a partnership process for Conference of the Parties (COP) process would provide progress towards more visibility, and ultimately recognize how financial inclusion can help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“The complexity of the global debate on climate change and the COP process requires that we move cautiously but surely towards our objectives — and at the same time, have reasonable diplomatic exchange with other stakeholders. This also means we have to engage our members more strongly,” Dr. Hannig underlined.

AFI members concluded the first international green financial inclusion conference by agreeing on the Nadi Action Agenda, which outlines specific measures AFI members can take to address financial inclusion and climate change challenges, and how best to use AFI’s capacities for generating knowledge, information exchange and peer learning.

Delegates agreed that the priority areas on green financial inclusion should address climate resilience and adaptation, as well as climate mitigation and include but not be limited to:

  • Financing for individuals and MSME’s to adopt carbon neutral technologies
  • Climate related insurance and risk management products such as microinsurance and parametric agricultural insurance
  • SME finance and climate change
  • Digital financial services and climate change
  • National financial inclusion strategies and climate change
  • Environmental risk management that includes environmental factors into credit risk assessment methodologies
  • Awareness raising and capacity building measures on green financial products for national financial service providers

The Nadi Action Agenda also recommends that green financial inclusion is incorporated into a range of AFI activities and events, in addition to developing knowledge to measure the impact of green financial inclusion agenda. The Agenda advises the collaboration and coordination with relevant private sector players and the international development community, but also highlights the importance of the Maya Declaration in focusing on national efforts in green financial inclusion. Finally, the Agenda would be shared with relevant global leaderships to raise awareness on green financial inclusion by AFI member institutions.

The conference gathered 100 participants from AFI member-institutions from central banks and other financial sector regulators from emerging and developing countries, as well as experts from relevant government authorities, private sector participants, academia and international organizations.

The two-day event is an important milestone for the Alliance and its members. Following the endorsement of the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on Financial Inclusion, Climate Change and Green Finance  during the 2017 Global Policy Forum (GPF) in Egypt, the conference officially began the AFI Green Financial Inclusion workstream, along with recommendations for its integration in the wider work of the Alliance.

Green financial inclusion plays a key role in enabling environmental objectives of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). To that end, AFI member institutions from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Morocco, Fiji and other countries have made efforts to align financial inclusion initiatives with environmental policies.

 

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