More than $600M Pledged for Green Infrastructure in Southeast Asia at COP26

A man working at a wind farm
Renewable energy projects, such as wind farms, can help countries recover from the pandemic by creating jobs and opportunities as well as support their climate goals. Photo credit: ADB

The Green Recovery Platform, which backs low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, will receive an additional $665 million in funding.

The platform aims to mobilize $7 billion in projects and supports the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF), which was established by the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund and is managed by Asian Development Bank (ADB). These projects are expected to accelerate the region’s recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The pledges were announced at the ongoing COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. The funding includes £110 million ($151 million) from the Government of the United Kingdom, €132 million ($155 million) from Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), €50 million from the European Union, and $300 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

‘A green and inclusive future’

“ASEAN countries have a unique opportunity to build a green and inclusive future after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, who attended the launch event with ministers and senior officials from ASEAN and partner countries. “The ASEAN Green Recovery Platform will help accelerate the flow of investments to support climate-resilient, environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia and boost sustainable, equitable development.”

The new funding will add to the $1.4 billion in cofinancing commitments already pledged to the ACGF since 2019, bringing total pledges to the facility to $2 billion. The original financing partners supporting ACGF include ADB, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank, the German state-owned development bank KfW, and the Government of the Republic of Korea. Director General for International Partnerships at the European Commission Koen Doens, GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec, and AFD Chief Executive Officer Remy Rioux also spoke at the launch.

“This year, the UK became ASEAN’s first new Dialogue Partner in 25 years. We’re now working together to build stronger economic and investment relationships and tackle climate change,” said UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. “The £110 million of UK funding for the UK–ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility Trust Fund will help deliver clean, honest, and reliable infrastructure into countries that urgently need it, drawing on UK expertise on green technologies and creating jobs across the UK.”

Economic and climate goals

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant economic, health, and social impacts in Southeast Asia. The platform will provide financing and technical assistance to reduce investment risks and catalyze public and private financing for green infrastructure projects that create jobs and bolster growth. It will also support the efforts of ASEAN developing member countries to reach their climate goals under the Paris Agreement and help them strengthen green capital markets, such as by expanding the issuance of green and climate bonds.

“As we rebuild our economies, our commitments to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals must not falter,” said CDP Chief Executive Officer Dario Scannapieco. “CDP stands ready to play an active role in financing sustainable and inclusive infrastructure by promoting constructive partnerships, like our support to the ACGF, to finance a sustainable and green economic recovery in Southeast Asia and to join forces with other national development banks to tackle todays’ challenges for both this and the next generation.”

'Build back cleaner'

ASEAN has adopted a post-pandemic economic recovery framework that aims to “build back cleaner” as one of its objectives. This means promoting green growth measures, such as investing in infrastructure that support energy efficiency and decarbonization and that create more jobs.

At last week’s 14th BIMP-EAGA Summit, the leaders of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines reiterated their commitment to pursue a green recovery to help their countries become more sustainable and pandemic-resilient.

BIMP-EAGA is a building block of ASEAN integration.

“The BIMP-EAGA Green Cities Initiative (GCI) continues to take strides in implementing green projects,” they said. “We are pleased that the cities of Tomohon (Indonesia), Kota Kinabalu [Malaysia], and General Santos [Philippines] are taking crucial steps to implementing the ASEAN Sustainable Urban Strategy and improving liveability.”

BIMP-EAGA also promotes the growth of clean and green manufacturing in the subregion, which involves adopting sustainable ecotourism, sustainable and climate-resilient farming and fishing practices, and clean and green production technology.

This article was first published by BIMP-EAGA on 3 November 2021.