EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle’s keynote during UN High-level political forum on sustainable development

Check against delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If anyone was still looking for a good reason to invest in development, the spread of the coronavirus is a great motivator to act now.

The pandemic demonstrates how connected we are to each other and how much work we must do together to protect the future. As countries and economies cautiously reopen after months of inactivity, we have the opportunity to build safer and more sustainable societies. I tell people often that we also must stay on the green path while rebuilding. Otherwise, we will reinforce unsustainable economies and cause more harm for vulnerable communities.

Some people are worried that the coronavirus and climate change can’t be fixed at the same time. However, I believe this is the perfect time to strengthen both green investments and the economy. This way, we will make the most of shifts in human behaviour that are already under way.

We will show that governments can act fast and that the public is ready to cooperate for a good cause. Our investments must include social welfare. They should benefit everyone, especially people in poor countries or communities struggling because of extreme weather events caused by climate change. The European Investment Bank Group has designed a wide-reaching package to fight the pandemic outside the Europe Union. We will provide more than €5 billion to African countries and other parts of the world. This will help banks give more loans to men and women who are starting businesses. It will help hospitals buy protective equipment and medical supplies. It will encourage the private sector to start investing again. It offers hope to more than 100 struggling countries.

At the European Investment Bank, we are also creating a ground-breaking climate roadmap to guide us during the next half of this critical climate decade. We will raise our financing for climate action and environment sustainability to at least 50% of our total business by 2025. Over the next decade, the EIB Group aims to support at least €1 trillion in climate action and environmental sustainability investments. Many of you know that we will stop supporting traditional fossil fuel projects by the end of next year.

We have pledged to align all our activities with the Paris Agreement by the end of this year. And to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we have developed guidelines to make sure we know exactly how our financing is helping these goals. Institutions like ours must fully understand where they are succeeding and where we need to do more to meet these global goals. The stakes are high: ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The climate crisis and this new pandemic give us a watershed moment for cooperation and multilateralism. This is a chance to make the world more equal and more sustainable. Let’s not waste our big chance.