Background and agenda
Moving onto a greener, low-carbon and resource-efficient path of economic development requires significant investments. The public sector alone cannot bear the costs of such investments. In order to promote private sector finance, governments need to provide appropriate incentives.
Commercial banks have a potentially important role to play in providing lending for green investments. However, under the current conditions in the EU Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, their involvement is rather limited. Generally, commercial banks have only established specific environmental credit lines when supported by International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and donors. In addition to supporting immediate investment priorities, the IFIs have established such credit lines with the aim of helping to strengthen the capacity of local banks to internalise sustainable energy lending into their standard project portfolios. IFI-supported environmental credit lines disbursed through local commercial banks offer useful insights into what needs to be done in order to increase the capacity of the banking sector to finance green investments.
In this context, the expert meeting on "Access to finance for green investments in the EU Eastern Partnership countries", held on 5-6 June 2014 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, focused on the following objectives:
- Reviewing the experience with the design and implementation of environmentally related IFI- and donor-supported credit lines disbursed through local commercial banks in the EaP countries;
- Identifying key lessons from this analysis that can help governments in the region improve the policy and regulatory environment that promotes green lending;
- Identifying those credit lines and countries that can be selected for further in-depth analysis; and,
- Discussing and agreeing on the methodology for an in-depth review of selected credit lines with a view to gaining further insights into the challenges and opportunities for using commercial banks to promote green investment.
The meeting was attended by a number of stakeholders, including representatives of IFIs, donor agencies, international organisations, local commercial banks, ministries of economy of the EaP countries, OECD/EU country experts and consultants working on financing green investments in the EaP region.