Final UNEP Inquiry Report Reviews Prospects for Global Sustainable Financial System

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Writer/Editor, Earth Negotiations BulletinInternational Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
4 June 2018

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) has published the final report of its Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System (UN Inquiry). The report finds that China has produced the world’s most comprehensive set of national commitments in its Guidelines for Establishing a Green Financial System, among other conclusions.

The Inquiry, which was launched in January 2014, investigated ways in which the global financial system can raise capital to support sustainable development and the SDGs. It conducted focused work on over 20 countries, addressing banking, capital markets and insurance.

The final report titled, ‘Making Waves: Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development,’ highlights progress during the time of the Inquiry, including an increase in green bonds, large-scale divestments from carbon-intensive projects, commitment to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, and the development of national road maps for green and sustainable finance. It suggests that, while market actors can take some actions, governments also need to advance the relevant laws and policies.

Simon Zadek, Co-Director of the Inquiry, emphasized that systemic change in how global finance aligns to sustainable development is possible, but there is still “unfinished business” to reach the needed scale of change.

While the Inquiry is now over, international cooperation on green and sustainable finance is continuing through other platforms, including the G7, the G20, and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. In addition, UNEP has established a partnership, the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance, with China’s Ant Financial Services, an online and mobile financial services provider.


Originally published by IISD


The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the GGKP or its Partners.