AFI Executive Director Dr. Alfred Hannig delivers his opening remarks at the Global Conference on Inclusive Green Finance, 3 December 2020.

Global Conference on Inclusive Green Finance

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Opening remarks by Dr. Alfred Hannig

Dr. Rogério Zandamela, Governor, Banco de Moçambique, senior officials from AFI member institutions, dear partners, speakers and participants, colleagues from Banco de Moçambique and AFI team.

It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you to this virtual global conference on inclusive green finance (IGF). I am delighted to see so many of you here today. To the regulators and policymakers from the AFI network and our partners present today, welcome to this event!

We express our sincere gratitude to Governor Zandamela and Banco de Moçambique for graciously accepting to co-host this event. We would have wanted to meet in person in Maputo but in these trying times, we can only hold discussions virtually. Under these tough circumstances, it has not been easy and it might have been challenging to find inspiration and motivation. But the pressures in our societies, especially on those at the base of the economic pyramid, are mounting and we have a joint responsibility to take action.

This year has passed by very fast. Our last annual gathering held in Rabat, Morocco, co-organized with Bank Al-Maghrib a year ago, feels it was just a few moments ago. But a lot has happened since then – both good and challenging.

Let me congratulate everyone for their achievements and, of course, I would like to thank you all for driving the IGF agenda with such passion and energy. Governor Zandamela has rightly pointed out that mastering the challenges of climate change requires global collective action.

During the global pandemic, there has been constant discussion around rebuilding our economies and how best to do that. We believe that COVID-19 can be transformative for social and financial inclusion. This basic understanding that we share with many others connects nicely with the topic of our meeting here today, as we all agree that a green recovery can also cater to a more sustainable economy.

However, the image of a straightforward re-start that is portrayed by some global stakeholders risks leading to overly simplistic conclusions. First, domestic and international political processes and decision-making mechanisms will remain complex even after the pandemic. Second, we, at AFI, think that we do not have to start over again. We have learnt so much in the past and these lessons are very relevant. Let us use this opportunity to leverage our valuable and solid learnings to drive our agenda forward in a practical and feasible way. Ultimately, this will lead us into a better normal.

This conference is about jointly discussing and forging a path forward on how to progress IGF policies, both nationally and globally. In previous years, since the network endorsed the Sharm El Sheikh Accord on financial inclusion, climate change and green finance, this policy area has been taking shape with leadership coming from AFI members across the world. With the Sharm El Sheikh Accord - in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (goal 1 on no poverty and goal 13 on climate action) – we launched the 4Ps of inclusive green finance, established the IGFWG and saw the first in-country implementation projects take off.

Today, we will be presenting to you a policy framework on IGF, developed together with SOAS, University of London, which will provide a more in-depth conceptualization of this policy area.

Based on this conceptual contribution, this conference will allow us to discuss and explore how to advance IGF policy development and implementation, as well as highlight areas of focus in the coming year, and how we can support each other in our quest.

We are an ambitious community and the topic of IGF asks us to be exactly that. We need to realize that now – more than ever – the future lies in the recognition that AFI needs to be agile, focused and flexible. Let’s discuss what is needed to advance the IGF policy area from a strategic perspective and how AFI and our partners can support such needs.

While there has been significant movement around green finance policy development globally, we need to go deeper to ensure that the continued inclusion of those at the base of the economic pyramid in our efforts to build resilience and enable mitigation to climate change and environmental degradation. This is where inclusive green finance becomes very relevant.

We can leverage financial inclusion to support climate and environmental action. Through this approach, financial regulation can help those at the base of the economic pyramid to enhance their capacities, adapt to a changing climate and contribute to low-carbon development. Their vulnerabilities also present risks to the financial system and can lead to further exclusion. If those most at-risk are not empowered to build resilience to climate change, then we will not reach our goal of leaving no one behind. This is also the core of today’s gathering. How can we further leverage financial regulation to deepen the drive for inclusive climate and environmental action?

I am happy to note that several AFI members are already developing IGF policies. Under the Maya Declaration, commitments on IGF have been made in nine countries. I support Governor Zandamela in asking our members to include IGF in their Maya Declaration Commitments.

Financial regulators are in a very good position to influence actions toward the national climate agenda and through that the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, financial regulators in the Global South are in the best position in terms of putting those at the base of the economic pyramid into the core of support for climate and environmental action to ensure that they are not left behind in the transition.

As we move into our discussions, we recognize the work of those already ahead in this policy area. We are learning a lot from your experiences and examples. As we look at our national contexts, let us think about the next steps and  actions needed to advance IGF. In which direction should we be threading and how can you move IGF forward in your own countries?

Thank you and we look forward to this exchange of ideas and experiences.

AFI's IGF workstream is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), based on a decision of the German Bundestag.

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