The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has achieved a key commitment to double its annual climate investments from $3 billion in 2014, hitting a record high of more than $6 billion in climate-related financing in 2019.
ADB was the first multilateral development bank (MDB) to make a climate financing commitment at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Summit in September 2015—and has now reached its target commitment one year ahead of time.
The milestone was reached with the approval of projects covering agriculture improvement in Cambodia and urban livability and climate-resilience in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). ADB’s climate-related financing for 2019 comprises $1.4 billion for financing adaptation and $4.8 billion for mitigating climate change.
ADB’s $6 billion climate financing milestone coincides with the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, where the international community is expected to urgently identify actions for putting the Paris Agreement commitments into operation, as well as building support for more ambitious national climate action plans, which will be submitted in 2020.
“Leading climate representatives gathering in Madrid should commit to increasing climate action. At ADB, we are ready to step up as the climate bank for Asia and the Pacific—in terms of both financing and technical assistance,” said ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao. “Financing climate solutions in the region is critical to economic development, reducing poverty, and saving lives. ADB has achieved many firsts in recent years on climate actions and will continue supporting its developing member countries to address the pre-eminent challenge of this century.”
ADB remains firmly committed to helping its developing member countries meet their targets under the Paris Agreement, enabling them to transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient growth and development path. This is reflected in ADB’s Strategy 2030, which highlights the importance of tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability. ADB has further strengthened its climate targets to ensure that at least 75% of its operations focus on climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, while providing $80 billion in cumulative climate financing by 2030.
In addition to scaling up its own climate financing, ADB is working on new and innovative co-financing opportunities with public and private partners. For instance, ADB has mobilized concessional financing from global funds such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), including nine projects worth a total of $473 million in grants and concessional financing. This includes the first GCF project in the PRC to catalyze green finance in the province of Shandong.
ADB has issued green bonds amounting to $5 billion as an added financing mechanism. In 2016, ADB backed the issuance of the first project-level climate bond in Asia and the Pacific through a credit enhancement transaction for the Philippines’ Tiwi–MakBan geothermal energy facilities, which has been replicated for other projects in Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
ADB has introduced a number of measures to enhance the integration of climate actions into its operations. These include a targeted approach introducing climate-risk screening of its project portfolio and diagnostic studies on the critical infrastructure at risk in the region. ADB has also introduced new financing instruments such as the contingent disaster risk financing for financial resilience while enhancing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable transport and urban development, and climate-smart agriculture. This has been accompanied by actions to enhance the transparency of ADB’s climate operations through the public disclosure of project-level information of the bank’s climate portfolio with strict adherence to tracking climate finance based on the agreed methodology among MDBs. Enhancement of capacity and technical assistance for delivery has also been a key tool.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.