Multilateral financial institutions convene in Abidjan for working group on environmental and social standards

07/10/2015
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The African Development Bank hosted the fall session of the Multilateral Finance Institutions’ Working Group on Environment and Social Standards (MFI-WGESS) from September 30 to October 2 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The meeting was attended by representatives of various multilateral financing institutions (MFI), bilateral agencies and export credit agencies. MFI-WGESS is a regular forum that is convened twice a year and hosted on a rotational basis. The forum is convened to discuss trends and emerging issues related to environmental and social policies and safeguards, including climate change. Where desirable, institutions agree to collaborate on some areas of mutual benefits and interest.

Many MFIs have revised their environmental and social safeguard policies and procedures. With the growing awareness of the potential devastating impact of climate change on Africa’s development and increased feedback received through the Independent Review Mechanism, AfDB has also adopted an Integrated Safeguard System (ISS) and Environmental and Social Assessment Procedures (ESAP) and therefore undertook this work in close coordination with other MFIs. The meeting is a key platform for discussing a coordinated approach and best practices in climate change adaptation, loss of biodiversity and convergence of practice in safeguarding development by using a common monitoring framework and applying the principle of mutual reliance among MFIs when cooperating on a specific project.

The Bank acknowledges the contributions of the members of the MFI Group in the drafting and revision of the revolutionary set of operational safeguards in the Integrated Safeguards System (ISS) which was adopted in 2013 and has so far proven to be an important tool for the environmental, climate and social sustainability of Bank operations

Climate change issues will also be discussed at large in the context of the preparation of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 12, 2015.

The African Development Bank remains committed to the climate change and the sustainable development agenda for Africa. The Bank’s work on climate change and green growth complements and supports what has been achieved so far in terms of poverty alleviation and efforts to create conditions for Africa’s sustainable development

The Bank Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, has demonstrated a strong political will to initiate focused partnerships, and a genuine ambition to financing programs that address climate changeand its impact on the millions of people whose livelihoods are under threat, especially in small, fragile and island states, and the Sahel region. He has announced that under his tenure for the Bank will focus on building strong institutions that support greater social and economic resilience in the face of climate change.

Under his watch,  the Bank will expand its support to African countries to solve their energy and food security challenges, while ensuring inclusive and green growth and cooperating with all stakeholders to launch a New Deal on Energy for Africa that will ensure energy supply and access across the continent.

AfDB endeavors to provide coherent support to member countries through the Integrated Safeguards System by linking environmental and social sustainability with efforts to deal with climate change in implementing adaptation and mitigation measures as well as securing adequate finance for Africa.