International finance organizations discuss improving cities’ access to financing mechanisms to foster lasting, effective strategies towards resilience and urban development

“Money is just money until it is in your pocket. When you put that money out, then it becomes capital,” shared Ms. Supee Teravaninthorn, Director-General of Investment Operations Department of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the People’s Republic of China during the fourth plenary session of Resilient Cities Asia Pacific 2019 which delved into financing urban resilience.

The plenary discussion, moderated by Maryke van Staden, Manager of ICLEI’s Low Emission Development Pathway and Director of ICLEI’s carbonn Center, brought together experts and key representatives of finance organizations in the Asia Pacific Region including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD) in India, European Investment Bank (EIB), World Business Council for Sustainable Development, KfW in India, and Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

Panelists for this session represented key financial institutions working with cities across the Asia Pacific region.

To improve access to financing, panelists agree that cities should be supported in designing and planning for integrated, feasible, and bankable environment-related projects. Presenting plans and strategies as viable and innovative solutions to the challenges that a city is facing should include primary goals, targets, and co-benefits across sectors.

“To access financing, cities need to plan for integrated solutions to priority urban challenges and ensure that these are inclusive and responsive to the needs of all sectors,” Mr. Donal Cannon of EIB stressed.

Cities should also look into innovative resource mobilization strategies by looking at their own means first. Supee Teravaninthorn from AIIB explained that there are three main financing mechanisms that are readily accessible to cities and these include budget allocations from national and local governments, debt financing through the private sector, and the use of existing municipal assets in the form of land leases, environmental fees, and taxes.

Stressing the importance of peer-to-peer learning, Shantanu Gotmare of GGGI shared, “Knowledge sharing should be promoted for innovative financing; there is a need to look away from pure engineering solutions and really try to understand and apply concepts of sustainable urban development.”

Building on the discussion about creating robust knowledge mechanisms Zolzaya Enkthur, Climate Change and Project Management Specialist of ADB and Founder of Climate Campaign NGO, Mongolia highlighted the importance of monitoring and evaluating city-led environmental strategies, “As cities prepare to improve capacities in accessing financing mechanisms, they should also ensure that they have prioritized the sectors that they want to address and create monitoring and evaluation systems to monitor and track progress.”

Virinder Sharma of Asian Development Bank and Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, Christophe Kessler of KFW India, Hans-Peter Egler of South Pole Switzerland, Joe Phelan of World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Clemence Vidal De La Blache of AFD also served as panelists and resource speakers for the session.

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