G20 setting "wheels in motion" for green finance: UN environment chief

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Cleaning solar panels. Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Combined Cycle Thermo-Solar Power Plant. Photo: Dana Smillie / World Bank

The world's leading economies have taken "huge strides" over the past year towards mobilizing the funding needed to make sustainable development and climate action a reality, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported on Friday.

Research by the agency finds that the G20 countries, as well as other nations, have launched "dozens" of policies and financial products to secure the trillions of dollars in public and private capital to address these challenges.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN research contributes to a study by the G20, a forum which brings together 19 countries and the European Union, representing the world's leading economies.

That report reveals that more so-called "green finance" measures have been introduced since June 2016 than in any other one-year period since 2000.

For instance, the issuance of green bonds—which support investment in climate solutions—grew by roughly 100 per cent last year to US$81 billion.

Furthermore, countries have taken specific actions, such as Germany, which intends to make the city of Frankfurt a so-called "green finance hub."

Meanwhile, China also announced that it will establish five pilot areas for green finance while the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa is developing green bond listings that align with best practices internationally

While this progress shows that the financial system is being reshaped to align with sustainable development needs, UN environment chief Erik Solheim said the challenge now is to "rapidly increase" capital flows to investments that support sustainable development and create commercially viable "green" businesses.

"The G20 and others have set the wheels in motion," he said, adding that "Now is the time to press hard on the accelerator."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’25″

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