Green Growth Forum 2019: How the main event of the year in green finance sphere was held?

In the context of the growing environmental crisis, which is turning into a crisis of the entire civilization, it is very important to unite all countries and use a new tool – “green financing”. To explore this environmental protection tool, more than 400 global and local experts in green finance gathered at the Green Growth Forum in Nur-Sultan city.

The forum was held in an unusual format. The usual introductory speech of distinguished guests was replaced by a spectacular performance of dancers who put on a black mask in the middle of the dance, thus emphasizing the problems of environmental pollution.

Against the backdrop of environmental problems, a rather young term “green financing” has appeared in the financial market, which is interpreted in different ways, but its main idea is to preserve nature. During the opening of the forum, the AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov noted that the Astana International Financial Centre is actively developing this area, as well as green finance tools.

“As part of the development of the Islamic finance market, we are working on the issue of green Islamic bonds or green sukuk. In addition, we are actively working with the Akimats of the city of Nur-Sultan, Almaty to form a pool of green projects for which new green financial instruments could be used. We believe in our ambitious goal that the Astana International Financial Centre’s platform will become a leader in the field of green finance in the entire Central Asian region”, – Kairat Kelimbetov emphasized.

Leading global and domestic experts in green finance discussed global initiatives for green and sustainable financing, green finance in the banking sector, issues of a green taxonomy and green technologies.

The discussion also was held in an unusual format. This was not the usual monologue of the speakers, but a heated discussion, both between the speakers and between the guests sitting in the hall. All participants were seated at a round table to give them the opportunity to exchange experiences, information and fresh data on ways to solve environmental problems.

The round table was attended by representatives of different countries who were able to directly ask questions to the speakers.

The speakers included international experts in the field of green finance, politics and famous personalities, such as Sean Kidney (CEO and Co-Founder of the Climate Bond Initiative), Vincent Duijnhouwer (Senior Manager, Department of Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, EBRD), Catherine Stewart (Chief Negotiator for Climate Change / Director General, Climate Change International at Environment and Climate Change, Canada), Michael Sheren (Senior Advisor, Bank of England), Morgan Despres, (NGFS Secretariat / Banque de France) and many others.

During the Forum, the Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan Magzum Mirzagaliyev spoke about the development of a new Environmental Code.

“Today we are developing a new Environmental Code. At the end of this year, the document will be submitted to Parliament, and we will begin its discussion. For the widespread use of green finance and clean technologies, the concepts of “green financing” and “green projects” have been introduced into the Environmental Code. Such types of green finance as “green bonds”, loans and other instruments are also provided. It is gratifying to note that green financing is one of the main areas of activity of the Astana International Financial Centre”, – the minister said during the forum.

In addition to the speeches of the speakers, the participants were shown a video message from the residents of Kazakhstan who spoke about the important acute environmental problems of the country. Smog in Astana, the disappearing Aral Sea, which was the fourth largest lake in the world, the negative impact of rocket launches from Baikonur – all these questions did not go unnoticed by experts.

It should be noted that the AIFC holds this forum together with Tsinghua University and the International Finance Corporation with the support of the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Within the framework of the forum, for the first time, an initiative was taken to promote the contribution of market participants to the development of green finance – the AIFC GREEN FINANCE AWARDS 2019, where three experts received high awards in the field of green growth.

The Green Award for the Belt and Road Initiative was presented to Dr. Ma Jun, Director of Research Center for Green Finance Development at Tsinghua University , Chairman of China Green Finance Committee.

Award in the nomination “For contribution to the development of the green financial system in Kazakhstan”, the prize was awarded to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

“I think it is a great honor for the EBRD to receive this award. The bank was created about thirty years ago. Today we are one of the leaders in Kazakhstan: firstly, it is financing the SME enterprise, where we are at the forefront. Secondly, the development of the capital market. We also work with the central bank and the AIFC to develop the capital market. And the third area is green financing”, – explained Bruno Balvanera, Managing Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for Central Asia.

The Award in the nomination “For the Opening new green finance markets” was presented by the AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov to the Climate Bonds Initiative.

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