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Fiji Issues First Developing Country Green Bond, Raising $50 Million for Climate Resilience

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Fiji has become the first emerging market to issue a sovereign green bond, raising 100 million Fijian dollars, or US$50 million, to support climate change mitigation and adaption.

Home to over 870,000 people, Fiji’s 300 volcanic islands include low-lying atolls that are highly susceptible to cyclones and floods. In 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston—the most intense tropical cyclone in the Southern Hemisphere on record—passed directly over Fiji, causing economic losses that amounted to almost one third of the country’s GDP. Like all Pacific island states, Fiji is also highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change: close to 20 percent of the region’s 10 million people could be displaced due to climate change by 2050.

Green bonds are fixed income, liquid financial instruments that are used to raise funds dedicated to climate-mitigation, adaptation, and other environment-friendly projects. This provides investors an attractive investment proposition as well as an opportunity to support environmentally sound projects.

At the request of Fiji’s Reserve Bank, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group focusing on private sector, provided technical assistance to assist the government in issuing a sovereign green bond. This collaboration took place under a broader, three-year Capital Markets Development Project supported by the Australian Government. Through this partnership, Australia and IFC are helping stimulate private sector investment, promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in the Pacific.

Projects financed from the Fiji green bond will follow the internationally developed Green Bond Principles, and will focus primarily on investments that build resilience against the impacts of climate change. Sustainalytics US (Sustainalytics), a provider of environmental, social and governance research and analysis, evaluated Fiji Sovereign’s green bond transaction and its alignment with the Green Bond Principles. Fiji will also use bond proceeds for projects supporting its commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy and reduce its CO2 emissions in the energy sector by 30% by 2030.

Fijian Prime Minister and President of COP23 Frank Bainimarama said: “The Fijian people, along with every Pacific Islander, live on the front lines of climate change. The rising seas, changing weather patterns and severe weather events are threatening our development, our security and the Fijian way of life, along with the very existence of some of our low-lying neighbors. I have made access to climate finance a key pillar of our upcoming COP23 Presidency, and we are proud to set an example to other climate-vulnerable nations by issuing this green bond to fund our work to boost climate resilience across Fiji. By issuing the first emerging country green bond , we are also sending a clear signal to other nations that we can be creative and innovative in mobilizing funds and create win-win outcomes for countries and investors in adapting to the serious effects of climate change.”

“With this bond, Fiji has demonstrated that green capital markets can be created in emerging economies, and that all countries, big and small, have an important role to play in facilitating climate solutions,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “As it takes the helm of COP23, Fiji is uniquely positioned to inspire other countries to meet their respective targets and build resilience against climate change.”

The World Bank and IFC are among the pioneers of the green bond market. The World Bank issued the first green bond in 2008. Since then, both institutions have provided leadership by issuing green bonds across a range of currencies, tenors and volumes; helping to define best practice for reporting and standards; and working with countries to facilitate the development of domestic green bond markets. The global green bond market is expected to reach US$134.9 billion in 2017.

The Government of Fiji will chair the 23rd Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, 2017. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has given high priority to COP23 and aims to continue the momentum for action since the entry into force of the Paris Climate Change Agreement last year.

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Mexico officially joins IEA: First member in Latin America

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Mexico officially became the International Energy Agency’s 30th member country on 17 February 2018, and its first member in Latin America. The membership came after the signed IEA treaty (the IEP Agreement) was deposited with the government of Belgium, which serves as the depository state, following ratification by the Mexican Senate.

Mexico’s accession is a cornerstone of the IEA’s on-going modernization strategy, including “opening the doors” of the IEA to engage more deeply with emerging economies and the key energy players of Latin America, Asia and Africa, towards a secure, sustainable and affordable energy future.

The IEA Family of 30 Member countries and seven Association countries now accounts for more than 70% of global energy consumption, up from less than 40% in 2015.

“With this final step, Mexico enters the most important energy forum in the world,” said Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy. “We will take our part in setting the world’s energy policies, receive experienced advisory in best international practices, and participate in emergency response exercises.”

“It is a historic day because we welcome our first Latin American member country, with more than 120 million inhabitants, an important oil producer, and a weighty voice in global energy,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “The ambitious and successful energy reforms of recent years have put Mexico firmly on the global energy policy map.”

At the last IEA Ministerial Meeting, held in Paris in November 2017, ministers representing the IEA’s member countries unanimously endorsed the rapid steps Mexico was taking to become the next member of the IEA, providing a major boost for global energy governance.

They recognized that Mexico had taken all necessary steps in record time to meet international membership requirements since its initial expression of interest in November 2015. In December, the Mexican Senate ratified the IEP Agreement paving the way for the deposit of the accession instrument and for membership to take effect.

Mexico is the world’s 15th-largest economy and 12th-largest oil producer, and has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources. The IEA family will benefit greatly from Mexico’s contribution on discussion about the world’s energy challenges. The IEA is delighted to continue supporting implementation of Mexico’s energy reform with technical expertise, and further intensifying the fruitful bilateral dialogue of energy policy best practice exchange.

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Guterres: Korean nuclear crisis, Middle East quagmire eroding global security

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Conflicts are becoming more and more interrelated and more and more related to a set of a new global terrorism threat  to all of us,” Mr. Guterres said in his keynote address at the opening ceremony on Friday of the Munich Security Conference.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the world is facing the threat of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which he called “a development made in total contradiction to the will of the international community and in clear violation of several resolutions of the Security Council.”

He said that it was essential to maintain “meaningful pressure over North Korea” to create an opportunity for diplomatic engagement on the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula within a regional framework.

“The two key stakeholders in relation to this crisis, the United States and [DPRK]” must be able to “come together and have a meaningful discussion on these issues,” he said, adding that it is “important not to miss the opportunity of a peaceful resolution through diplomatic engagement as a military solution would be a disaster with catastrophic consequences that we cannot even be able to imagine.”

The situation in the broader Middle East, which the UN chief said had become a “Gordian knot,” was also eroding global security, with that are crises that are “crossing each other and interconnected.”

Pointing to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya, among others, Mr. Guterres said the entire Middle East has “became a mess,” with varied and intersecting fault lines.

He warned of the absence of a common vision in the region and said that even if interests are contradictory, the threats these conflicts represent would justify some efforts to come together.

Turning to cyber-security, Mr. Guterres called for a serious discussion about the international legal framework in which cyberwars take place.

“I can guarantee that the United Nations would be ready to be a platform in which different actors could come together and discuss the way forward, to find the adequate approaches to make sure that we are able to deal with the problem of cybersecurity,” he said, noting that artificial intelligence provides “enormous potential for economic development, social development and for the well-being for all of us.”

The Secretary-General said that Governments and others have been unable to manage human mobility. He warned that this had created mistrust and doubts about globalism and multilateralism.

“This is a reason why,” he said, “we need to be able to unite, we need to be able to affirm that global problems can only be addressed with global solutions and that multilateralism is today more necessary than ever.”

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Supporting tourism development in Africa through better measurement

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In an effort to better measure tourism growth and development in Africa, UNWTO signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation for the Strengthening of the National Tourism Statistical System of Nigeria and the Development of a Tourism Satellite Account.

UNWTO is committed to developing tourism measurement for furthering knowledge of the sector, monitoring progress, evaluating impact, promoting results-focused management, and highlighting strategic issues for policy objectives.

On the occasion of the meeting between UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Information and Culture of Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed, the agreement to host the Sixty-First meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa and the Seminar on ‘Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’ in Nigerian capital, Abuja, from 4 to 6 June 2018, was signed.

The meetings will be open to the participation of UNWTO Member States and Affiliate Members, as well as invited delegations and representatives of the tourism and related sectors. Officials of immigration departments, national statistics bureaus, central banks and other relevant stakeholders will be invited to join.

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