2018-11-26

RBF and AFI join forces in global green financial inclusion to build resilience of the vulnerable & mitigate climate change threats

Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) and Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) have joined forces in global green financial inclusion to help build resilience of the vulnerable and mitigate climate change threats.

The two institutions are co-hosting an international two-day conference, “Smart Policies for Green Financial Inclusion: Securing development gains and building resilience” held on 26-27 November 2018 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.  

In his opening address, Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Ariff Ali explained that in seeking to manage the challenges brought about by the aftermath of the recent natural disasters, a key observation was that our low income and vulnerable households are the hardest hit and worst affected.  Public funds are limited and not sufficient for all our communities to rebuild their livelihoods and ensure protection against impending climate related events. 

“This therefore creates a need for the financial sector to play a critical role in allocating resources towards a sustainable and green economy, particularly given the magnitude of investments required to weather future storms,” Governor Ali emphasized.

“Green financial Inclusion is part of AFI membership’s response to a global problem, clearly stated when our Alliance endorsed Sharm el Sheikh Accord on Climate Change and Financial Inclusion in 2017. Our work here in Fiji and the Sharm El Sheikh Accord, are AFI’s practical contribution to the call for climate action in the Paris Agreement. We offer a unique perspective by covering global financial inclusion policy and regulation while finding solutions that correspond to problems caused by climate change,” AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig highlighted in his opening remarks.

The conference is gathering 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 now aims to officially begin the AFI Green Financial Inclusion workstream, along with recommendations for its integration in the wider work of the Alliance.

Participants are exploring the links between financial inclusion and climate change, examining the role of the financial regulator and showcasing how financial inclusion policies can increase people’s resilience and mitigate climate change related threats such as draughts, rising water levels, the spread of illnesses and the increase of pests that endanger crops and carry disease.

Participants are delving into how access and usage of formal financial services such as insurance, savings and loans can help the underprivileged when faced with unexpected setbacks caused by climate threats. AFI member institutions, Reserve Bank of Fiji and Bangladesh Bank, are sharing their case studies to showcase their practices and experiences in financial inclusion and climate change.

With Fiji currently presiding over COP23 and leading advocacy in the region and globally, the conference is also focusing on the role of green financial inclusion in the wider global context of climate action.  

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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