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20 October 2021

Do More ‘to Green the Balance Sheet’, Secretary-General Urges Public Development Banks in Message for Finance in Common Summit

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Finance in Common Summit, in Rome today:

Excellencies,

I am pleased to greet the 2021 Finance in Common Summit.  With your reach from the global to the local, public development banks are critical partners as we seek to recover better from the pandemic.  The joint declaration of all public development banks at the first Finance in Common Summit last year was a strong signal of intent.  Today, I call on you to turn that vision into concrete and time-bound targets and plans to align your operations and policies with the 2030 Agenda and keep the 1.5°C goal within reach.

We must fully integrate a forward-looking and preventative lens in our work and bolster resilience to future shocks.  We must reach universal social protection by 2030; ensure macroeconomic and labour policies work in tandem to support a just transition; and heavily invest in job creation and reskilling programmes that expand opportunities for women and better prepare young people.

Your support for the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection is essential to help ensure a more even recovery — and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  You spearheaded the green bond market — now is the time to do more to green the balance sheet.

Your financing decisions can either entrench developing countries in high‑emission, fossil‑fuel-dependent development pathways with a high risk of locking in stranded assets or facilitate the transition to renewable economies.  This is especially true in a COVID-19 recovery context, where developing countries are battling the triple crises of pandemic, debt and climate.

This means phasing out all fossil fuel finance starting immediately with coal and redirecting these investments to renewable energy to ensure universal access to electricity.  And scaling up funding to support adaptation and build resilience to at least 50 per cent of total public climate finance.

To enhance transparency and ensure credibility, we also need better reporting.  This requires better norms, standards and certification mechanisms for sustainable finance, and improved corporate sustainability disclosure.

We urgently need a common definition of sustainable development investing.  I also urge you to make climate risk disclosures mandatory — in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Finance Disclosures.

Excellencies,

We need a stronger, more integrated and networked multilateral system — with public development banks as central players.  I count on you to advance this integration — by deepening the cooperation between multilateral and national development banks and encouraging the private sector to mobilize finance for climate action and sustainable development.

Let us seize this moment of crisis to transform development finance and realize our shared vision of a net-zero, resilient, inclusive and sustainable world for all.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.