Finance in Common 2023: Final Communiqué

September 06, 2023

The Cartagena Work program: main conclusions and deliverables of FiCS 2023

Finance in Common: An Opportunity to Create New Sustainable Finance +view more
Public Development Banks pledge to work together for the ocean +view more
Development banks discussed to accelerate the socioeconomic progress +view more
Finance in Common 2023: aligning financial flows to the 2030 agenda +view more

1. Since 2020, Finance in Common (FiCS) has become the global movement of all Public Development Banks (PDBs) and their stakeholders

The fourth edition of the Finance in Common Summit took place from 4 to 6 September in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia, for the first time in Latin America and the Caribbean. All participants warmly thanked the Columbian authorities for hosting this event, honored by the presence of H.E. President Gustavo Petro. Co-organized by IDB, ALIDE, Bancoldex, CAF, CDB providing the specific experience of their region, alongside with EIB, AECID, CDP, AFD, IFAD and IDFC, the Summit, under the overarching theme of “Building new alliances for the future of development banking”, focused its discussions around four key topics: climate and biodiversity; sustainable infrastructure; SMEs and financial inclusion; and equipping Public Development Banks to support them as SDG enablers.

FiCS is now established as the global movement for all public development banks, bringing together 1500 delegates from around the globe. The FiCS coalition manages 23 trillion USD in assets and about 2.5 trillion USD in annual investments, more than 10% of total investment flows. By fostering a dialogue between all PDBs and their stakeholders (international organizations, central banks, regulators, standard-setters, private banks, insurers, private sector, academia, philanthropists, local authorities, the UN and civil society) FiCS contributes to the emergence of a global framework for sustainable investment.

Participants shared a common sense of urgency and stood ready to do more to protect the most vulnerable populations and preserve global commons. Members reaffirmed the commitment to share and apply best practices and internationally accepted norms and standards on environmental, social and governance (ESG) in their policies and to actively manage debt sustainability.

The Summit recognized the contributions of PDBs in recent international fora: Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris, where a special FiCS event took place; EU-LAC Summit in Brussels, as reminded by AECID and the European Commission during FiCS; Amazon Summit in Belem; BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. Participants welcomed the African Climate Summit, hosted in Nairobi by President Ruto, in parallel with FiCS. They will further contribute in support of the upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit in Delhi, the UN SDG Summit in New York, the IMF-WB Annual Meetings in Marrakech and COP 28 in Dubai, showcasing PDBs’ contributions and solutions to make finance more inclusive and sustainable.

2. The Cartagena Work program: main conclusions and deliverables of FiCS 2023

FiCS 2023 was a working summit between practitioners, sharing innovations and solutions to transform their institutions and for a more inclusive financial architecture. A progress report on the following conclusions will be presented by the 2024 FiCS Summit.

a) To align finance with the SDGs, Paris Agreement and Global Biodiversity Framework

Participants shared their commitments and methodologies to align operations, strategies and institutions with SDGs and recognized the risk of fragmentation attached to the multiplication of specific frameworks and taxonomies on sustainable finance. The IDFC, among others, proposed a position paper to set common guidelines for implementing 2030 Agenda alignment by PDBs and the wider financial community. FiCS decided to set a working group to further define and mainstream sustainable development investment principles.

More specifically, on Climate and Biodiversity

- Mobilizing public capital, to scale up green lending in ways that are also socially just, was recognized as critical. IDFC members reported a record high of 288 billion USD in total green finance commitments in 2022, a 29% increase from 2021, of which 32 billion USD were allocated for adaptation finance, a 52% increase from 2021, and more than 18 billion USD for biodiversity projects. Cumulatively, green finance commitments by IDFC members surpassed 1.5 trillion USD since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

- Nature-based solutions (NBS) were recognized as key components to reduce vulnerability to climate change and enhance social inclusion, among other co-benefits. The Green Coalition of development banks of the countries sharing the Amazon region, the implementation arm of the “Amazonia Forever” umbrella program, presented its roadmap for the action plan and governance of the coalition. A Call for Action on sustainable blue finance established a new coalition of banks willing to work together on a Blue Finance Roadmap to contribute to the UN Ocean Conference 2025. It encourages PDBs to scale up their coordination and contributions to an ambitious blue economy, to promote biodiversity and foster protection, restoration and sustainable use of marine resources.

- Number of new innovative solutions were presented and discussed to be replicated, including the Global Green Bond Initiative (GGBI) led by the European Commission in the context of a Team Europe initiative to structure green bond markets in emerging and developing economies; the IDB’s Green Bond Transparency Platform with a joint declaration to promote the adoption by other countries outside the LAC region. Together with the conclusions of the Global Expert Review on Debt, Nature and Climate led by Kenya, Colombia and France, this could lead to more engagement by COP 28. Participants also supported the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) bid to host the secretariat for the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage.

On Sustainable Infrastructure

The urgent need to originate more quality projects was reaffirmed, building on critical partners, such as the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation (SIF) or the multilateral platform SOURCE. The work that PDBs, and especially local banks, can do in originating projects on the ground, building on their knowledge of local markets, was fully recognized. Given the existing capillarity of subnational development banks, and the potential to reduce financing gaps and increase economic and social integration of territories, the FiCS Coalition on resilient cities and regions will propose a reinforced working agenda with subnational development banks based on the strategies designed by the two Alliances of SDBs in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. This includes consolidating the ecosystem of players, technical assistance and funding and financing channels to ensure the setting up of a systemic urbanization financing architecture. Participants also insisted on the need to invest more on project preparation facilities.

Participants shared their experiences on the mobilization of private finance, via blended finance and de-risking activities. These include green bonds, sustainability-linked loans, guarantees and investment funds, aiming at providing a more attractive risk-return profile for private investors, as well as addressing the bottlenecks and regulatory barriers that have been preventing so far to fully mobilize public and private resources to fund greenfield infrastructure projects. Thanks to the work led by the D20 Long-Term Investors Club (D20-LTIC) and other partners, FiCS calls to promote innovative financing solutions and address the “Infra Gap” between private investor appetite for infrastructure and existing pipeline of bankable projects. The crucial importance of quality data to better assess the risks and mobilize private capital was also underlined, thanks to initiatives such as GEMs.

On SMEs and Gender equality

Participants acknowledged the significance of improving SMEs productivity to drive economic growth and employment. The Montreal Group held its Annual Summit alongside FiCS, underscoring its commitment to sustainability. Its members showcased many innovative products and solutions to accelerate sustainability as embedded within the growth of SMEs operations. The FiCS Gender Coalition presented a study covering more than 50 PDBs worldwide to review best practices on gender financing and support to women entrepreneurship. The first IDFC Gender Finance Mapping, for 2021, reported that volunteer members committed close to 10 billion euros to reach SDG 5 on Gender Equality.

b) To further increase cooperation between all PDBs by deploying innovative tools

FiCS members agreed to set an innovation Lab, to strengthen cooperation between its members and better equip them. This lab would in priority incubate the following innovations: the generalization of contingent debt clauses linked to disasters, of parametric contingent financing and credit lines and innovative risk transfer solutions for vulnerable communities. Since foreign exchange risk is a significant barrier to scale cross-border capital flows from developed countries towards low and middle income countries, FiCS members welcomed a new study from TCX and FiCS on this issue and also called for the development of new and innovative systemic answers on this issue. IDB, IDFC and philanthropist expressed an interest to accompany this innovation Lab.

Participants also concurred that substantial capacity need to be built in the PDB system to face the challenges posed by climate change and meet the SDG targets. Technical assistance can become a transformation tool to ensure the impact of innovative financial solutions and to adopt international standards. Through FiCS, PDBs can raise their key technical assistance needs to the international community through mechanisms such as the one provided by the implementation of the G20 Sustainable Finance Technical Assistance Action Plan which is to be housed and convened by UNDP. Building on the IDFC climate and biodiversity facility, participants envisaged a dedicated program providing contextualized and customized technical assistance responding to the effective needs of PDBs, especially in Africa.

PDBs also expressed their will to harness the power of Sports and Cultural industries for SDGs, recognized as a source of numerous kind of jobs, of income at various scales, and as a social lever to connect, transform and actively engage people. The Coalition for Sustainable Development through Sport launched a roadmap to support Public Development Banks, with the aim of leveraging sport as an innovative tool, building on the catalytic effect of Olympic and Paralympic Games, major international sport events, as well as on the potential of grassroots sport movement. In this perspective, FiCs members welcomed the initiative proposed by France to organize a Summit on “Sport for sustainable development” to be convened in 2024.

c) To mobilize and join forces with all other willing stakeholders

The FiCS Knowledge Program connects since 2020 the initiative with think tanks, researchers and academia. Its advisory group ensures policy coherence and provides expertise to practitioners. It presented an updated database and a Memo of policy recommendations for decision makers, building on a bibliography of 140 academic papers or reports constituted since 2020. Among others, the Memo assesses that the global development finance architecture is not fostering enough public entrepreneurship, and points to the insufficient current reporting on the magnitude of financial investments, from a scientific standpoint, to assess their impact in SDGs. It also calls for more research to examine the conditions under which the private sector's profit-driven logic, risk assessment, and fund allocation can significantly contribute to sustainability without embarking moral hazard. PDBs welcomed this research program and called for more data availability and a dialogue with the chiefs economist of their institutions.
Private finance representatives, notably Berne Union and GFANZ, were also present in Cartagena. Participants agreed that PDBs can play a significant role addressing the mismatch between private financial institutions’ risk tolerances and the risk-return profiles of investment opportunities in emerging markets and developing countries to unleash private finance at the scale required. They acknowledged the importance of converging towards common methodologies and taxonomies, working together with rating agencies and standard setters to integrate ESG factors into their methodologies. Support to domestic financial systems and capital markets in developing markets can also increase the regional allocation of climate finance. This ultimately contributes to delivering on the call made upon FiCS and the other networks of financial institutions to structure a common framework for alignment towards the SDGs with a proactive approach. The Berne Union stressed the role of export finance, how the risk mitigation instruments deployed by public and private sector underwriters of credit and political risk can help leverage private sector investment for projects with sustainable economic impact, and opportunities for a more integrated overall system of public finance to bring together export and development capital.

PDBs and philanthropies showcased their synergies, building on a White Paper . Participants encouraged PDBs to develop a pipeline of potential projects for joint initiatives to work with Philanthropies, and invite more private sector actors and philanthropies to participate in blended finance mechanisms. Philanthropies were called to ensure that blended-finance mechanisms takes into account the local context and the perspective of civil society, and to leverage their comparative advantages to enter successful collaborations with PDBs.

The Declaration from Civil Society Organizations, emanating from civil society organizations, communities and human rights defenders calling to move from ambition to action, was acknowledged. It provides recommendations on human rights, development finance, climate, biodiversity and sustainability as well as insights to strengthen PDBs and CSOs relationships. By next Finance in Common Summit (2024), the current coordination mechanism between FiCS and CSO organizations should provide a joint working plan.