Source: United Nations secretary general
I am pleased to welcome you to the 16th biennial Global Roundtable on Sustainable Finance convened by the United Nations Environment Programme.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a terrible toll on people, nature and economies around the world.
It has also highlighted the inadequacy of our investment models, particularly the lack of financial resources for a more sustainable, integrated, inclusive and resilient future.
Sustainable finance wields an enormous opportunity to transform our markets and businesses, our societies and our environment. This was a strong message from the recent Biodiversity Summit. Economic systems and finance markets must put a fair price on and invest in nature to shift finance away from destructive activities and toward nature-based solutions.
But just as we entered the critical Decade of Action, the COVID-19 pandemic risks derailing all our efforts to achieve the SDGs. We need all hands on deck to mobilize all the financing necessary to get back on track. Government stimulus packages must not only be fully aligned with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement – as set out in the UN’s Socio-Economic Recovery Plan – but they should require private companies benefiting from them to do so too.
Many private companies have risen to the challenge in close collaboration with the UN. Some asset owners are leading the way on zero-emissions commitments under the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.
The three UN-supported sustainable finance frameworks have also helped – the Principles for Responsible Banking, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance and the Principles for Responsible Investment.
The Global Investors for Sustainable Development, or GISD Alliance, brings together some of the largest banks and institutional investors to identify ways to increase long-term private investment for sustainable development.
But much more is needed to close the financing gap. These initiatives need to happen on a much larger scale. All financial flows, whether public or private, now need to be aligned with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement as we invest in the COVID response and recovery Plans.
The adoption of global standards, certification systems and disclosure frameworks will be crucial in this regard. Likewise, credit rating agencies will need to fully integrate the SDGs into their scoring systems recognising countries beyond categories to vulnerabilities created by COVID and the Climate crisis. At this critical juncture, we must show leadership, solidarity and build on each other’s comparative advantages to make sure that we all work towards the common goal of a better world, for us and for our children.
Let us seize this opportunity to transform our economies to promote a durable recovery from the COVID crisis, address the climate crisis and support the achievement of the SDGs.
I wish you a productive meeting.