ADB positions itself as climate bank for the Asia Pacific region

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reformed and positioned itself as the climate bank for the Asia Pacific region.

And the bank has matched it with an ambitious pledge to raise USD$100 billion from its own resources by 2030 for climate action – going beyond an earlier USD$80 billion commitment.

In November last year, the ADB launched its Climate Change Action Plan 2023-2030 – which sets out a new operating model for the Manila-based multilateral development bank.

In the seven years, until 2030, ADB will enhance its role as the climate bank, increase support for private sector development, deliver innovative, knowledge-driven, and integrated solutions, and modernise its ways of working.

The bank’s climate envoy, Warren Evans says this new shift will continue the focus on adaptation and mitigation. He’s confident the bank will raise its USD$100 billion target to deliver climate action.

“In 2023 alone, we were able to deliver US$9.8 billion in climate finance – USD$5.5 billion for mitigation and USD$4.3 billion in adaptation projects. It’s achievable, he told journalists at the ADB Annual Meeting in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

He admits there’s still a strong focus on mitigation.

“On the mitigation side it is fairly easy to identify revenue streams in renewable energy for example so it’s easier to get private capital into those investments.

“One of the focus now is to use nature-based solutions – investing in nature based capital to build resilience, sequester carbon and to generate jobs and economic growth and improve biodiversity across the region. So this is a win-win type of investment that addresses both adaptation and mitigation, said Evans.

ADB President, Masatsugu Asakawa assured, “The bridge to the future cannot leave behind those with the greatest need.”

“The poorest and most vulnerable populations including those in small island developing states face
the heaviest burdens from climate change, economic shocks and conflicts.

Climate finance must continue to include resources on concessional terms, including grants.

The Asian Development Fund has been a crucial vehicle for this – and with the replenishment completed on Thursday, the bank will deliver up to USD$5 billion to meet those needs, said Asakawa at the opening of the ADB Annual Meeting in Tbilisi Saturday.

Evans said, “The bank will increase the amount of upstream analytical work to understand what the priority risks are and what can be done to mitigate, offset or at least build resilience to those risks.”

The bank will raise additional climate finance from the private sector, philanthropies, capital markets and donors and other sources.

“One of the ways we can do is we are developing programmes that are investable and bankable. At the same time, we need to develop de-risking facility, working with donor communities, philanthropists to provide concessional finance so that we can blend with the private capital and bring down the capital and reduce the risk to the private sector, said Evans.

The theme of this year’s Annual Meeting is “Bridge to the Future”.