9 February 2021

Virtual In-Country Training on Inclusive Green Finance for the Superintendencia de la Economía Popular y Solidaria de Ecuador (SEPS) Opening remarks by Dr. Alfred Hannig, Executive Director, AFI

Virtual In-Country Training on Inclusive Green Finance
January, 20 Wednesday 2021

Opening remarks by Dr. Alfred Hannig

Good morning and a warm welcome to this virtual Capacity Building on Inclusive Green Finance, in collaboration with the Superintendencia de Economia Popular Y Solidaria. 

Let me start by thanking the Superintendent of SEPS for being here for this event and for driving this important agenda, Inclusive Green Finance. SEPS is one of the leading member institutions in the AFI network on IGF and that are currently planning to advance in this policy area. I want to congratulate you for your leadership, but also for progressing with this important initiative, despite the challenging times we are facing right now. This training is another milestone that marks SEPS’ commitment to the inclusive green finance agenda.

The members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion have since 2017 been driving the agenda of Inclusive Green Finance and throughout the network we see this topic becoming more important. There is now a clear recognition of the financial risks associated with the impacts of climate change and that SEPS Ecuador and you here in this virtual room are also starting the journey to address these risks is commendable. The first steps on this journey are ensuring national level coordination and collaboration and this event today, will hopefully lay the foundation for this collaboration around green finance in Ecuador. We are delighted to today share with you some of the main insights and examples from the AFI network of financial regulators and financial policy makers from across the globe.

Climate change is already today being felt by all of us, but it is especially impacting the most vulnerable populations. Ecuador is not spared, and we have noted that its agricultural economy which contributes 9% to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) bears the brunt of climate change. Ecuador is a forerunner in climate action and notably one of the first countries that revised its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the 2020 submission. Its NDC, which applies a gender-sensitive formulation, is fully aligned with its national priorities documented in its National Development Plan and to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

On the other hand, we also applaud Ecuador on its works on financial inclusion reaching out to the unbanked, especially in the rural areas and we recognize SEPS’s and the credit cooperatives significant contribution in this development. Today’s agenda – and the initiatives that this is a start to – truly complements its national climate actions and will not be far from significantly contributing to Ecuador’s economic development. Today we will discuss how financial inclusion can further be leveraged in Ecuador to build resilience and enable climate mitigation amongst the most vulnerable populations. AFI promotes such a coordinated approach to ensure alignment of financial policies to national priorities to effectively redirect private sector resources towards national climate change and economic development objectives. The development of an Environment and Social Risk Management Framework can potentially bring Ecuador, and especially its agricultural sector, to be more resilient to the effects of climate change and prevent further degradation of the environment. Furthermore, this is a significant step towards a greener and more inclusive financial sector. It’s going to be a long journey and by building a solid foundation of strong capacity and coordination, the success at the end of the journey can be granted.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from the Nepal Rastra Bank and Banco Central del Paraguay who will be sharing their journey in developing their Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) Guidelines with us today.

With that, I would like to close by congratulating the Superintendent and all the participants for being the forerunners in this field. With your commitments, a sustainable, resilient, and low-carbon development for Ecuador is easier to reach. We at the AFI Management Unit are happy to be part of this journey and we look forward to the ESRM Guideline that SEPS and the Ecuador’s financial sector are going to develop, and to more collaborations in the future.

I wish you all a fruitful and engaging training.

AFI’s Inclusive Green Finance (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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