Pacific leaders champion youth and green finance at 5th PIRI High-Level Forum
Pacific leaders championed youth and inclusive green finance at the opening of the 5th Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI) High-Level Forum, co-hosted by Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), on 5 June.
CBSI Governor Denton Rarawa welcomed the more than 100 policymakers, financial regulators and stakeholders who convened in the capital of the Solomon Islands of Honiara, hailing the two-day event as “historic”.
“Our focus on green finance and the inclusion of young people is very important,” Governor CBSI Denton Rarawa said during his opening speech on 5 June. “Tomorrow we will announce key deliverable for us to implement to pursue and bring to the wider AFI family.”
Pacific region countries have some of the world’s highest percentages of young people and are also among the most vulnerable to extreme weather events linked to climate change, such as hurricanes, tropical storms and cyclones. Financial inclusion plays a critical role in helping build resilience to climate-related shocks and to empower younger generations by enhancing their financial capabilities.
With PIRI members among the top 20 nations most affected by climate change-linked disasters, the region has spearheaded and continuously supported AFI’s Inclusive Green Finance (IGF) workstream.
As part of the work on inclusive green finance, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV) Governor and PIRI Chair Simeon Athy launched the AFI report, “Inclusive Green Finance: A Survey of the Policy Landscape”, which he described as a “milestone” that demonstrated the region’s “continued strong commitment from leaders.” The report outlines AFI’s “4P” policy framework on Inclusive Green Finance and shares the developments of AFI members in this workstream.
In keeping with the theme of “Advancing Green Finance through Youth Inclusion”, AFI Deputy Director Norbert Mumba said that youth represented a “huge untapped resource that should be financially included to maximize their potential contribution to our common development.”
In the Pacific region, he explained, an estimation of 55 percent of people are below 24 years old who should be brought into formal financial services to “make sure our future is greener”.
The bi-annual forum acts as a major platform for financial regulators and stakeholders in the Pacific region to deliberate policy solutions to advance financial inclusion, such as digital financial services and consumer empowerment. It is the last in a series of PIRI events that began on 3 June with the Experts Group on Financial Inclusion Policy (EGFIP), followed by a training day on Accelerating Digital Payments in the Pacific led by financial services giant VISA through AFI’s public-private dialogue (PPD) platform.
PIRI is a regional initiative founded by AFI member institutions from seven small island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific region, namely, Banco Central de Timor-Leste, Bank of Papua New Guinea, Central Bank of Samoa, CBSI, National Reserve Bank of Tonga, Reserve Bank of Fiji and RBV. Other financial regulators, including Central Bank of Seychelles and Banco Central São Tomé and Príncipe, regularly attend PIRI events to learn and exchange information on common concerns.
AFI’s Inclusive Green Finance workstream is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
About Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI)
CBSI is a principal member of AFI, having joined in 2009. Since then, the central bank has announced six financial inclusion policy changes and seven Maya Declaration targets, including a commitment to provide an enabling and accommodative environment for micro, small and medium enterprises.
About Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI)
Officially launched in Dili, Timor-Leste, in 2016, PIRI aims to make formal financial services accessible to all Pacific Islanders through its unique model of south-south engagement and peer learning. The region has one of the highest rates of unbanked persons globally due to factors including geographically dispersed islands, small populations and limited banking infrastructure.