Climate fund’s $300bn boost to green recovery in south-east Asia

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Ambitious plan to leverage $4bn for green infrastructure to aid post-Covid rebound.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has allocated $300m to support the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) work to generate a climate-resilient, environmentally sustainable economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for south-east Asia.

According to the UN, there has been a significant lack of green recovery spending as part of the global response to Covid-19 and there were already shortfalls in south-east Asia before the pandemic. It had previously been estimated the region needed $210bn of green infrastructure investment and there are fears that economic contractions have exacerbated the lack of available funding.

As a result, new ways to leverage funding are being sought. The new GCF and ADB funding will be used by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) to leverage financing from development partners and private investors with the aim of achieving more than $4bn in green infrastructure projects.

ADB vice president Ahmed M. Saeed explained: “The ACGF Green Recovery Program is designed to kickstart a cycle of low-emissions investments during the first few years of a COVID-19 recovery. The program will help south-east Asian countries design green stimulus packages and projects that will create climate-friendly jobs, boost economic growth, and help countries fulfil their pledges under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Green Recovery Programme, which will be managed by the ADB, will provide technical assistance as well as financial support to countries and projects. It will be run according to a set of green investment principles and will prioritize the use of GCF funding for investment projects in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and the Philippines.

The announcement comes as the ADB sets out green recovery as its central focus for its upcoming 54th annual meeting of the board of governors, which will be held virtually in May. The meeting will explore prospects for a resilient future, the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the role of venture capital in recovery, and how to achieve a woman-focused recovery for a more inclusive future.