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India’s G20 presidency comes at a crucial time: Sarbananda Sonowal

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HT Bureau

 

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GUWAHATI, Feb 2: Raising funds through green bonds, Sustainability Linked Bonds (SLBs) and other such instruments for development projects was discussed on the first day of the G20 meeting in Guwahati on Thursday.

The delegates of the influential world grouping also deliberated on raising the size of blended finance, and stressed on the importance of Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) to deal with growing concern for climate change impacts.

“We discussed how to raise funds through green bonds and Sustainability Linked Bonds by the private players for implementing their projects. All the members put forward their statements at the meeting,” an official of a Switzerland-based financial think tank said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Inaugurating the two-day event, Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that India’s G20 Presidency has come at a crucial midpoint of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda.

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Green bonds, also known as climate bonds, are fixed-income financial instruments used to fund projects having environmental benefits, while SLB is a type of bond that focuses on achieving pre-defined sustainability objectives.

“Currently, green bonds and SLBs are just 5 per cent of the world’s total financial assets. The need to increase these instruments, especially by 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were stressed,” the official said.

“The meeting also discussed blended finance and how to increase it. How the government can encourage private players to invest in green technologies was deliberated upon during the day,” he said.

Blended finance is mobilisation of private capital alongside development or public funding to finance sustainable development in emerging and frontier markets.

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A senior official of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank of the country, said the members raised their queries on how to “de-risk” projects funded by blended finance.

“Blended finance is an important tool to fight climate issues while not compromising developmental projects. The role of MDBs was also discussed in detail in one of the sessions,” the official said.

He said that as this is the first meeting of the year, the members just raised the issues so that everyone agrees to discuss the points in detail during the coming days.

“If all agree to the topics, then we will discuss the issues throughout the year and try to arrive at some solutions by the end of 2023,” the official said.

The first-ever G20 deliberations in Assam began on Thursday with Guwahati hosting the ‘1st Sustainable Finance Working Group Meeting’.

Ministry of Finance adviser Geetu Joshi said: “All the delegates raised various issues ranging from green bonds, SLBs, Blended Finance to MDBs. All highlighted the need to arrange sustainable finance to fund development projects.”

On the first day, there were three sessions – mechanisms for mobilisation of financial resources for climate finance, enabling finance for the SDGs and short induction by the secretariat on monitoring and assessing roadmap progress.

More than 100 delegates, including 95 foreign officials, comprising representatives of G20 nations, guest countries and international organisations have assembled in Guwahati for the discussions of the influential world grouping.

“Today’s meeting being held in the vicinity of this magnificent land of Guwahati has a special meaning to it as communities from diverse ethnicity and culture, socially coexist in harmony with nature through sustainable practices,” Sonowal said during his inaugural speech.

The G20 group through the ‘1st Sustainable Finance Working Group Meeting’ (SFWGM) in Guwahati is sharing a timely message of sustainable finance to maximise sustainable investment, the Union shipping, ports and waterways minister said.

“It is most opportune for our nation to catalyse a fundamental mindset shift and benefit humanity by acting collectively and together,” he added.

The Union minister also highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the Indian government for sustainable development in different sectors to fight increasing climate change impacts.

“There is an increasing sense of urgency and call for action about putting the global economy on a path towards sustainable development. No doubt, implementation of SDGs in the face of climate change is a priority for governments around the world,” Sonowal said.

 

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