Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 8 October 2023 – Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) President and Group Chairman, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, delivered compelling and insightful statements as a panelist during the Ministerial Session of MENA Climate Week 2023.
The high-level panel discussion, titled "Inclusive Finance and Economic Diversification Towards the Goals of the Paris Agreement" took place on 8 October 2023 in Riyadh.
The IsDB President began his intervention by extending special thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UNFCCC for holding the major event in the run-up to the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, UAE, 30 November-12 December 2023.
During the panel discussion, Dr. Al Jasser echoed the key points raised by other panelists and underlined: “We are after a just and fair transition. At Islamic Development Bank, the premier South-South financial institution, we see what is happening as 29 of our 57 member countries are least developed. You can imagine the challenge that these countries are facing as they try to adapt to these climatic pressures that are happening as we speak.”
He then elaborated on the significance that IsDB attaches to providing financing support to the least developed countries in as many ways as possible. “We have committed to ensuring that 35 percent of all our financing would go to climate projects by 2025 of which 33 percent has already been achieved. We are also committed to being consistent and operating in alignment with the Paris agreement while developing financing mechanisms like Green and sustainable Sukuk,” Dr. Al Jasser stated.
IsDB President, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, then told the high-level Ministerial Panel at the MENA Climate Week in Riyadh, that the Bank has issued US$ 5 billion of Green Sukuk and the Sustainable Sukuk the proceeds of which are being utilized to deal with climate change mitigation, adaptation, as well as in social development projects. “One such example is Egypt's high-speed railway project to which IsDB has provided a financing of US$ 344 million,” he asserted.
A substantial increase in investor interest is seen in IsDB’s sustainable finance instruments, which are crucial to unlocking more capital for climate and sustainable development purposes.
Another critical point addressed by Dr. Al Jasser was the role of capacity-building and knowledge sharing in promoting climate projects. IsDB leverages its regional convening power to promote best practices and cooperation on climate action. Additionally, the Bank utilizes its Reverse Linkage program to replicate successful models and foster knowledge transfer and capacity building. As an illustration, the IsDB President referred to the Bank’s close cooperation with the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) to develop bankable PPP utility-scale renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Regarding regional and international collaboration in climate finance, Dr. Al Jasser highlighted the significance of partnerships that combine public and private sector resources. He cited IsDB's collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) aimed to boost private sector climate finance in in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Palestine.
Furthermore, he mentioned the Arab Coordination Group's US$ 24 billion commitment to provide substantial financing for climate-related initiatives, with IsDB alone pledging US$ 13 billion out of the total amount.
Looking ahead to COP28 and IsDB role as the Chair of the MDB Working Group on Climate Change, Dr. Al Jasser expressed the Bank’s dedication to better coordinating efforts among MDBs and supporting the development of long-term national strategies. He then called upon all stakeholders, including governments, financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society, to join forces in accelerating climate action and sustainable development.
The IsDB President underlined that financing and South-South cooperation can indeed make a difference. However, given the enormity of the challenge, it is imperative for the developed world to step forward to compensate for the significant damage incurred over the past few centuries since the industrial revolution.
H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser's participation in the MENA Climate Week 2023 panel discussion reaffirmed the Islamic Development Bank's commitment to advancing climate finance and promoting inclusive, sustainable development in the MENA region.
For more information about IsDB climate policy and action plan, please visit: https://www.isdb.org/climate-change