Forum highlights sustainable finance development

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Minister N.Tserenbat opening the Sustainable FInance Forum

The Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association held its annual forum, the largest gathering of national policy makers, banks, financial institutions, international organizations and other experts, on Monday.

This year’s event marked the fifth anniversary of the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Initiative, which has become a key component in the government’s green development policy that forged a strong public-private partnership between commercial banks, Mongol Bank and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

On Monday, more than 300 participants joined the forum, themed “Expanding the Scope of Sustainable Finance”.

The first Mongolian Sustainable Finance was initiated in 2013, following an imminent need for a private and public cooperation to develop and effectively implement policies, actions, and initiatives in line with the government’s commitments to the global sustainable development agenda and the Paris Agreement, and the unanimous commitment of the banking sector to advance sustainable finance in the country.

In his opening remarks, Minister of Environment and Tourism N.Tserenbat said, “At all levels, Mongolia is paying attention to seeking solutions for urgent challenges such as environmental pollution, degradation and poverty caused by global climate changes and excessively high production and consumption. In particular, we’re focusing on creating green investment opportunities and expanding cooperation.”

The minister underlined the risks in sectors closely connected to the environment and climate change before noting that natural disasters have been occurring more frequently with expanding range. He pinpointed centralization in the city, inadequate infrastructure, outdated systems, and air and environmental pollutions as major national concerns.

“It is the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s top priority to direct policy-level support to eco-friendly initiatives for social responsibility and sustainable development that can resolve current issues. The ministry has been actively working with government, private and international organizations to introduce sustainable finance principles in banking and financial sectors, approve budgets and investment policies that support eco-friendly production and consumption, and create a legal environment for government procurement,” he said.

“An example of this is the fact that the ministry supported the Sustainable Finance Program since it was first initiated and has been actively working to broaden the program and increase financing for promoting green economy. Within the framework of this work, we’re partnering with the Mongolian Bankers Association and Ministry of Finance to form Mongolian Green Finance Corporation, which will support eco-friendly, cost-efficient, green, anti-air and soil pollution projects, initiatives and production.”

Key topics covered at the forum were “The Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association in last five years and future”, “Green Bank and Finance”, and “Introduction of Online Training System”.

In the panel discussion, Head of the Finance Regulatory Commission S.Davaasuren stressed the need for government organizations to lead businesses to help implement sustainable finance initiatives. She also gave an elaborate instruction on the correct way insurance and stock trade companies and non-bank financial institutions can introduce sustainable finance principles in their operations.

“In terms of the securities sector, attracting financial sources to large business owners is the key route (to achieving sustainable finance) and a key tool to providing public investment. For this reason, emerging companies must establish ethics, governance and social accountability systems at a high level,” S.Davaasuren said before mentioning sustainable finance opportunities available in these areas.

For insurance sector, S.Davaasuren said it’s possible to run policies that can introduce new products and services, while bringing positive results to the environment and society. Since the micro finance sector mainly provides service to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and small lenders, he advised financial institutions to provide financial support to SMEs focused on eco-friendly operations.

Head of the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association B.Naidalaa briefly talked about was the accessibility of financial services.

“In recent years, our association has been focusing policies and operations on increasing financial accessibility and developing infrastructure for the finance market. For example, we’ve included this type of targets in the Mongolian Sustainable Development Goals 2030, association’s Strategic Action Plan 2018-2020, National Program to Develop Financial Market through 2025, Monetary and Stock Market Development Plan, and Strategy to Reduce Loan Interests 2018-2030,” he said.

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan