AIIB to fund more green infrastructure projects

By Chen Qingqing in Jeju Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/16 16:43:39

The head of the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) vowed to fund more sustainable infrastructure projects in a bid to tackle major challenges of infrastructure gap and climate change in Asia.

AIIB President Jin Liqun made the remarks in his opening address for the second annual meeting of the AIIB's board of governors, which is held from Friday to Saturday in Jeju, South Korea.

"Asia is at a critical juncture. Its role on the world stage is increasing, thanks in large part to its growing economy, demographic changes, technological innovations, and more importantly, enhancements in corporate and state governance," Jin said.

"Despite these impressive achievements, Asia now faces new and complex challenges such as a massive infrastructure gap, the impact of climate change, rapid urbanization and environment degradation," Jin noted.

There are significant challenges to achieving energy sustainability in Asia, as the region has seen rapid growth in coal consumption and fossil fuels accounted for 93 percent of Asia's consumption increase from 2000 to 2014, showed the bank's latest report.

Jin said the AIIB will invest in infrastructure and other productive sectors to support economic and social development of its members.

Despite the US announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Asia's goal to fight climate change would not change, Rachel Kyte, special representative to the UN Secretary-General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for ALL, told the Global Times during the meeting.

"The US decision to withdraw demonstrates the lack of long-term vision of the US," she said.

Kyte noted that the bank's energy strategy is long-awaited, and there is an excitement about AIIB's potential to change the way other multilateral development banks work.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) welcomed the bank's commitment to help countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the Paris Climate Agreement through the financing of sustainable projects, such as renewable energy contributing to fighting climate change. "One challenge that remains is that the energy strategy does not rule out coal lending. This could potentially undermine meeting these global goals. But AIIB's President confirmed that there are no coal projects in the pipeline and that the AIIB won't finance coal if there are environmental or reputational concerns. That gives us hope," Kiri Hanks, Oxfam policy adviser, told the Global Times on Friday.

The NGO has made some suggestions including no funds for new coal plants or lifetime extension of existing plants to the bank, which vows to approve projects in line with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Hanks noted.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who took office on May 10, attended the meeting.


Posted in: CHINA WATCH

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