12 November 2020

Banks around world in joint pledge on 'green recovery' after Covid

Green Recovery

Rémy Rioux, chief executive of the French Development Agency, called the pledge of public development banks to increase their focus on the climate emergency and UN sustainable development goals, a positive move. “This is a very significant part of the recovery [from Covid-19], these are concrete steps. It’s very important that this direction has been set.”

The banks’ declaration, which also includes commitments to biodiversity, gender equality and human rights, was made at the Finance in Common conference, organised by the French government in support of the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement this December. It was held online at a time that had been scheduled for Cop26, the UN climate summit, now delayed to next November.

Odile Renaud-Basso, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated that only joint action allows us to address the most urgent global challenges effectively and efficiently. In overcoming the crisis, our goal must be to build economies that are sustainable, resilient and inclusive.”

Marcos Neto, director of the finance sector hub at the UN Development Programme, said the pledge marked an important step by ensuring that the banks would align their lending and resources with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and that it was now time for the governments that funded the banks to change their mandates – which could require legislation – to ensure their lending practices led to lower emissions.

“Should this have happened five years ago? Probably yes, but better late than never,” Neto said. “Now I hope there will be a much faster transition.”