Climate change youth activist urges regulators to act now!
Fifteen-year old climate change activist Leah Namugerwa urged participants at the 2019 AFI Global Policy Forum (GPF) to respond with haste to the current climate emergency, reminding them that it is the youngest generations who will suffer most from inaction.
Addressing financial regulators and supervisors on September 13 during the plenary session on “Responding to the Climate Emergency: Inclusive Green Finance”, Namugerwa urged countries to take action by addressing common challenges with sustainable solutions.
“Green financing is one of the best responses to the climate emergency which should be emulated by every country,” said Namugerwa. “The sooner countries are able to invest in renewable energy and to strengthen their resilience to climate crisis’ impacts, the better the prognosis for humanity and the planet. We have a responsibility to find ways to make this happen.”
Citing the recent climate-related devastation felt in Mozambique and Tanzania, she added: “Climate change is already being felt by so many people and there must be real investment into adaptation and resilience building to make sure that no one is left behind”.
Responding to these remarks, AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig extended his thoughts to AFI member The Central Bank of Bahamas following the recent destruction felt in the Caribbean nation as a result of Hurricane Dorian.
For Reserve Bank of Fiji Deputy Governor Esala Masitabua, experiencing the repercussions of climate change are all-too familiar with Pacific nations often at the forefront of extreme weather events. He outlined his country’s responses to climate change, saying that “we have done a lot, and a lot of it is driven by emergency. We are living in the cold face of climate change”.
Heeding Namugerwa’s warnings, he reiterated that “if we don’t address this issue of climate change, we risk losing the hard-won gains of financial inclusion”.
Also on the panel was Bank of Ghana Second Deputy Governor Elsie Addo Awazdzi, who said she was “touched and encouraged” by Namugerwa’s words, and used her time on stage to elaborate on her institution’s sustainable banking principles.
“Though the challenges are real, the timing is also real, so all hands on deck,” she said. “We are leading the way and hope that others will follow … to empower people at the bottom of the pyramid”.
Banco Central del Paraguay Chairman José Cantero Sienra was equally enthusiastic about implementing green finance, telling participants that “we are revising our new strategy plan and incorporate all the environmental issues and I think that it will be a very transformative tool for my country”.
Mid-way through the session, a poll was taken among the audience and found that 37 percent were “planning to start” work on Inclusive Green Finance, compared with 23 percent who had “started to take action” and 12 percent with a “plan in place and implementing”. The remaining 29 percent, however, said that they had not yet “thoughts about it”.
With the adoption of the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on Financial Inclusion, Climate Change and Green Finance in 2017 and the Nadi Action Agenda in 2018, AFI member institutions are spearheading climate change responses, a point underscored by the launch of the Inclusive Green Finance Working Group at the 2019 AFI GPF.
Referring to AFI’s latest working group, GIZ Sector and Global Programs Director General Andreas Proksch said that “Inclusive Green Finance will be an absolutely key element for sustainability in climate, which includes green finance in all different dimensions for directing capital flows in towards green, climate-friendly, low carbon and long-term investment”.
The Inclusive Green Finance workstream is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).