September 10, 2020

Finance in Common Summit: ‘We are convinced that we can change the global financial system’, says AFD

As an official COP-26 event, FiC aims to get a joint commitment from all participating banks to align with Paris Agreement goals.

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Global — Two months before the summit that will gather for the first time all public development banks from all over the globe, the webinar “Expectations for the Finance in Common (FiC) Summit”, organized by, brought together financial experts to discuss the policies that, if adopted, will ensure a just and sustainable recovery from the compound crises of Covid-19 and climate breakdown. Convened by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement – AFD) in November, the FiC will gather 450 banks that control approximately $2 trillion in public money.


“We want to discuss the capacity of Public Development Banks to reorient and leverage all financial flows in the direction of climate and sustainable development goals. We also want to reinvent and push for new forms of multilateralism. Recognizing their societal responsibility, we aim that PDBs will take measures to collectively shift their strategies, governance, investment patterns, activities, and operating modalities. This Summit is not a one-off event, we’re launching a dynamic initiative for the years to come. We are convinced that we can contribute to reorient the global financing, and we have certainly a unique role to play in the financial system”, Audrey Rojkoff, Senior Climate Finance Expert at AFD. 

“Public financial institutions are designed to be public interest countercyclical lenders and are therefore ideally placed to lead the recovery from crises like COVID-19 and efforts to tackle climate change. Their role in the short-term economic stimulus shows the key role they will have to play in the rebuilding of our economies. Now is the chance to drive real, transformative change to build back better in line with the Paris Agreement. We want to see every public development bank with a date in the near future for the phase out of financing of all fossil fuels”, Sonia Dunlop, Senior Policy Advisor at think tank E3G.

Too often, public development bank activities have exacerbated poverty, inequality and human rights abuses such as reprisals against human rights defenders and forced evictions, without meaningful redress for affected communities. Respecting international human rights standards in achieving sustainable recovery goals, and addressing human rights abuses widely documented in public development bank investments and projects must be discussed at the summit”, Carla García Zendejas, Director of People, Land, and Resources at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

“The emissions of coal, oil and gas reserves that are currently in production far exceeds the carbon budget for staying below 2oC and 1.5oC of global heating. If we want to stay below climate limits there is no space for expanding fossil fuel infrastructure, and instead we need to rapidly move away from fossil fuel production and use, and of course we will need public finance institutions to support this transition. But what governments and public financial institutions are doing at the moment is not yet going in the right direction. A recent report shows that G20 public finance institutions provide 3 times as much for fossil fuels as for clean energy, and this amount ($77 billion a year) has not dropped since the Paris Agreement was adopted”, Laurie van der Burg, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International (OCI).

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought sharp focus on the problem of debt, which has plagued countries in the South for many decades. Debt payments have taken a huge share of public resources and have been prioritized by governments over health, education, housing and other services, and it is also contributing to deepening inequality and injustice. The multiple crises we are facing today offer opportunities for us to renew our efforts in calling for solutions – immediate relief and to address the roots of the problem. It’s not just about the outstanding debt stock that we have, it’s about not accumulating further, unsustainable and illegitimate debt. So we are asking for the adoption of international and national rules for fair, just and democratic landing and borrowing processes and contracts”, Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

You cannot call anything ‘green finance’ unless it is making a substantial contribution to an environmental objective, which is hardly surprising, but also not causing significant harm to any of the environmental objectives and minimum social safeguards. EIB has already decided, last November, to stop funding fossil fuels. Obviously it is not enough for EIB to do it alone. What we want to do is try to bring together a movement of banks that are all doing more, and really looking at Paris alignment of their activities holistically. This includes more finance of what really helps, just transition, which refers to creating new jobs, new livelihoods, and economies for the future. This is what we are hoping to do”, Nancy Saich, Chief Climate Change Expert at the European Investment Bank (EIB).