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Union of Banks of Kyrgyzstan discusses sustainable finance during 8th annual Bishkek International Financial Forum

On May 25, 2023, the Union of Banks of Kyrgyzstan organized the 8th annual Bishkek International Financial Forum (BIFF) with the theme “Technologies, Opportunities, Sustainable Development.” The forum aimed to facilitate professional communication, partnership, and growth within the financial sector. Co-organized by the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the event featured speakers from various countries.

During the Forum, the participants identified primary next steps to advance sustainable finance in the country. These include approving and coordinating the implementation of the Sustainable Finance Road Map (SFRM) and establishing a unified working group to develop annual action plans and a monitoring system. It was also recommended to coordinate the draft Green Taxonomy with all stakeholders and launch educational programs to enhance the capacity of financial market participants in implementing sustainable financing principles.

Furthermore, collaborative efforts among ministries, regulators, financial institutions, private sector participants, civil society organizations, and development partners were deemed necessary for successful implementation. The Union of Banks of Kyrgyzstan intends to coordinate the Roadmap and corresponding measures for developing sustainable finance in the Kyrgyz Republic.

One of the main panel discussions at BIFF2023 was on “Sustainable Financing.” The discussion highlighted several key areas, including the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into financial decision-making processes. Speakers reflected on the recent trends of companies and financial institutions considering ESG factors when making financial decisions and incorporating ESG aspects into their operations.

The discussion also addressed the growing demand for sustainable investments, which combine financial returns with social and environmental value. Investors are increasingly seeking financial products such as green bonds and social bonds, while facing the lack of transparency and standardization, which hinders the assessment and comparison of sustainable investments.

To effectively implement sustainable financing, it is crucial to develop standards and metrics for measuring and evaluating the sustainability and social effectiveness of financial products and companies. The discussion emphasized the need for universally recognized taxonomies and metrics to enable the comparison and assessment of different sustainable financial solutions.

Speakers recognized that sustainable financing requires assessment of potential environmental, social, and reputational risks, as well as the need for awareness raising and capacity building for the successful implementation of sustainable financing. 

Importantly, the discussion emphasized the growing demand for green financial products, particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), together with a need to develop specialized financial instruments, such as green credit lines and guarantees, to provide affordable financing for sustainable SME projects.

Overall, the Bishkek International Financial Forum provided a platform for discussing sustainable financing and identified key areas for action to promote sustainable development in the financial sector of the Kyrgyz Republic.