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International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability Kicks Off in Milan

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System convened the inaugural meeting of an international network of city authorities from many of the world’s leading financial centers, during which network members confirmed their agreement to cooperate on promoting green and sustainable finance in their respective financial centers and on expanding the range of green assets and products currently available.

The inaugural meeting of the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability took place from 12-13 April 2018, in Milan, Italy. The Network was launched in Casablanca, Morocco, on 28 September 2017, currently has 18 members from city authorities around the world, including Paris, Toronto, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Zurich. The Casblanca Finance City Authority and UNEP supported the initial Morocco meeting, in association with Italy’s Ministry of Environment and Morocco’s Presidency of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

UNEP’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System initiated the Network in order to encourage global financial markets to support society’s transition to a low-carbon, green economy. The Network’s goal is to share experiences among members and consider how to accelerate the transition to sustainable development.

Among other statements made on the occasion of the inaugural meeting, Xingan Ge, President and CEO of the China Emissions Exchange and Secretary-General of Shenzhen’s Green Finance Committee, expressed readiness to “push forward the development of green finance” in Shenzhen, and noted that a green, low carbon, and sustainable economy would benefit “ecological civilization in China and the public welfare of the Earth.” Addressing the fact that “highly competitive financial centres are cooperating,” Stephen Nolan, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Nation Ireland, said such collaboration is actually “key to grow the market.” Sustainable Nation Ireland is building up Dublin as a green financial centre. Nolan noted the development of a regional platform for over 30 financial centers in Europe, with the EU’s Climate-KIC platform.

With the G7 and the Government of Italy, the Inquiry published a report titled, ‘Accelerating Financial Centre Action on Sustainable Development: How international cooperation can scale up green and sustainable finance.’ The report argues that the world’s financial centers can be influential in promoting action on climate change and sustainable development. It outlines the International Network’s objective and suggests priorities for action, including: adopting common definitions and standards, identifying projects that can be scaled up to receive international financing, and working with city-based climate initiatives, such as the C40. [UNEP Inquiry Press Release] [Casablanca Statement on Financial Centres for Sustainability] [Accelerating Financial Centre Action on Sustainable Development]

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