Ecuador’s Superintendencia de Economía Popular y Solidaria (SEPS) and Ministry of Environment and Water signed a national cooperation agreement on green finance on 24 November during regional training on green and gender inclusive finance. SEPS is one of the first AFI members to sign an agreement with a national environment ministry aimed at green finance. AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig attended a signing ceremony as the witness of honor.
Both sides have agreed to exchange resources towards the mitigation and adaptation of climate change, including technical and financial information, tools, methodologies, technical support, definitions of green projects and synergies in programs and projects.
“The joint work will favor and enhance financial inclusion in the popular and solidarity economic sector,” SEPS Superintendent Margarita Hernández said in a statement. SEPS overseas Ecuador’s savings and credit cooperatives, real estate cooperatives, associations and other aspects of the “solidarity” economy.
She added: “I want to thank AFI for the support. Without its guidance, contribution and training, these achievements would not have been possible in such a short time.”
This optimism was echoed on the regulator’s official Twitter channel, which described the development as an “important milestone in the field of sustainable finance”.
SEPS, a member of AFI’s Inclusive Green Finance Working Group, has been a champion of sustainable finance within the network and has made Maya Declaration commitment in this policy area. This latest development complements its efforts towards developing environmental and social risk management (ESRM) guidelines for the credit cooperative sector with support from AFI, as well as general regulation of green credit.
These ESRM guidelines will aim at limiting any environmental and social risks arising from credit decisions and further poster green finance in the country. Part of the Maya Declaration commitments on financial inclusion, the guidelines are bringing the country closer to fulfillment of their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement.
“[SEPS] is one of the leading members in the region and the network, particularly because they have taken on the inclusive green finance agenda and come very far in drafting of regulatory provisions regarding environmental and social risk management guidelines,” said AFI’s Dr. Hannig.
Noting that women are often disproportionately impacted by climate change, Dr. Hannig said that AFI was “very keen to see this intersection between inclusive green finance and gender inclusive finance come together, and we hope that we can also see this come to life … after the signing of this very important agreement”.
The ceremony took place on the side lines of a two-day regional training on inclusive green finance and gender policies, jointly co-hosted by Ecuador’s Superintendencia de Bancos, SEPS and AFI.
The training aimed at enabling participants from AFI member institutions in Latin America and Caribbean to gain greater awareness on developing and implementing gender-sensitive and green frameworks for national financial inclusion strategies and roadmaps. It also aims to enhance participants’ understanding of the links between green policies and women’s financial inclusion.
Sixty-three participants from nine AFI member institutions in the region attended the event, which was held physically in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito and through online platforms.
AFI’s IGF workstream is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), which is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), based on a decision of the German Bundestag.