Leading international financial institutions committed to fight against climate change and call for comprehensive Copenhagen agreement

The heads of the world’s leading international financial institutions today called for a comprehensive agreement to combat climate change at this month’s Copenhagen Conference and agreed to further coordinate their own efforts to help achieve the meeting’s ambitious goals.

In a joint statement, the leaders pledged to use their own organisations’ mandates, expertise and resources to help authorities combine with the private sector to confront the challenges of climate change and to make the best possible use of available financing.

The heads of the of the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund also committed their organisations to the use of  technical assistance and funds to further support their environmental goals.

They recognised the primacy of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in setting the targets for dealing with global environmental challenges.

An agreement in Copenhagen must provide an ambitious, comprehensive and equitable global climate change regime beyond 2012 that enables all countries to achieve sustainable development, they said. The institutions will coordinate with the European Commission and other partners supporting efforts by developing countries to cope with climate change.

The leaders reiterated their commitment to help developing nations adapt to climate change and to facilitate the development and transfer of climate-friendly technology and knowledge according to the needs of individual countries.

Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, said: “The impact of climate change on Africa is already evident.  It adds a significant additional burden to existing challenges of poverty, of inadequate access to energy, water, and basic infrastructure.  Additional resources are needed urgently to help Africa adapt, to protect its lakes and forests, and to maintain growth.  Together we must rise to these challenges; the African Development Bank stands ready to play its part.”

Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda said: "Climate change presents a daunting challenge - perhaps the biggest ever faced by humanity. But it also provides an opportunity to transition towards a more sustainable growth path. Developing countries cannot be denied the chance to share in the planet's wealth. They can, however, choose to approach economic development differently by leapfrogging directly to more energy-efficient and sustainable solutions. Since infrastructure investments can establish a country's pattern of resource use for decades to come, the time to act is now - before this infrastructure is set in stone."

EBRD President Thomas Mirow said: “Together, the IFIs will use their implementation capacity and their resources to face up to this overriding challenge of the 21st century. For its part the EBRD will further step up its own financing and help leverage private sector investments to win the battle against energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions – a key priority especially in eastern Europe. This will only achieved by ensuring an unprecedented level of cooperation between the private and public sectors.”

European Investment Bank President Philippe Maystadt said: “This joint statement shows the strong commitment of the European Investment Bank and the other IFIs to coordinate further their support to the UNFCCC Parties.  We must innovatively deploy the full arsenal of instruments and resources at our disposal to maximize the use of financial flows by our client partners.  Together with the other IFIs, the EIB is committed to provide packages of technical assistance and finance that blend loans, grants, equity, and carbon finance – and to support the carbon markets beyond 2012.”

Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno said: “Developing countries have shown that practical solutions to the challenge of low carbon growth and climate resilient development are available right now. The challenge is to scale up these solutions through both public and private financing, and in this area the MDBs can contribute by providing technical and financial assistance to enable effective use of concessional finance such as the CIF and to help increase access to the carbon market.”

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said: "Climate change is one of the most complex challenges of our young century. No country is immune. No country alone can take on the interconnected challenges posed by climate change, including difficult political decisions, daunting technological change, and far-reaching global consequences. Changes of this magnitude will require substantial additional finance for adaptation and mitigation, and for intensified research to scale up promising approaches and explore bold ideas. It is crucial that countries integrate development needs with climate actions."

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that the global economic crisis must not distract us from tackling the important issue of climate change. “Sustaining the recovery and putting in place effective climate change policies can be mutually reinforcing with the right policies implemented resolutely,” he said. “Global cooperation, including among international financial institutions, will help countries to confront the challenges from climate change. These require innovative and long-term solutions, which have a part to play in supporting the recovery and sustainable growth. The IMF can assist in its areas of expertise to advise on policies and support countries that are most vulnerable to economic and climate challenges,” Strauss-Kahn noted.

To read the full joint statement of the heads of the MDB's and the IMF for the Copenhagen conference, please click here