The Multilateral Finance Institutions Working Group on the Environment (MFI-WGE) convened in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia, from 25 to 27 April to review policy developments at the various member institutions.
The MFI-WGE is composed of the heads and key senior representatives of environment departments of the various MFIs, multi-lateral agencies (UNEP-FI, WHO, UNDP) and bilateral agencies (JICA, AFD) and export credit agencies.
MFI-WGE is a regular forum that is convened twice a year and hosted on a rotational basis. The main objective of the forum is to exchange and discuss current trends and issues related to environment and social issues and safeguarding in each institution. Where desirable, institutions agree to collaborate on mutually agreed areas of benefits and interests.
At the Tunis meeting, the group held extended sessions on Good Practice in Environmental and Social Assessments for Large Infrastructure, mainstreaming Climate Change in Environmental Assessments, Ecosystem Services and Sustainable and Green Cities, and Key Performance Indicators and the basis for evaluating successful projects.
The Secretary General and Vice President, Cecilia Akintomide in her opening remarks on behalf of President Donald Kaberuka, extended a warm welcome to the participants and expressed her appreciation of the high level representation of the various institutions. She stressed that the Bank has always been a long-standing partner of their respective institutions and applauded the prospects for emerging new collaborations while expressing the hope that valuable thoughts and ideas on key issues of common interest would emerge from this important meeting.
Simon Mizrahi, Director of the Quality and Results Department, expressed the Bank's commitment to strengthen Environmental and Social Governance, support Green Development, and mainstream Climate Change in furtherance of Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa as the Bank moves towards formulating its Long Term Strategy.
Mr Mizrahi highlighted the Bank's program for its participation at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June, which will showcase the Bank's support to implementing Sustainable Development in Regional member Countries.
M. Anthony Nyong, Manager of the Bank's Safeguards and Compliance Division, and his team presented the new Integrated Safeguards System (ISS) and Climate Safeguards System (CSS) that the Bank has designed to mainstream Environment and Social Safeguards, and Climate Change in Bank's investments in regional member countries.
These AfDB-developed tools were recognized as innovative and attracted attention and interest from the MFI-WGE. Several participants have invited the AfDB to hold more interactive sessions with them to further demonstrate the use of the CSS, to guide their development of a similar tool.
The Group praised the Bank's efforts in adopting a transparent and participatory process in designing its Integrated Safeguards System, therefore attracting interest and support from international as well as African Civil Society Organizations. Regional consultations on the ISS have already been organized in Nairobi, Kenya for East Africa and Lusaka, Zambia for Southern Africa.
Consultation sessions for Central Africa and West Africa are planned respectively for 11 to 13 and 15 to 17 May, 2012 in Libreville, Gabon and Abuja, Nigeria respectively. The last regional consultation will be held in Rabat, Morocco for North Africa between 12 and 14 June, 2012.
The current draft of the Integrated Safeguards System ISS has been reviewed by key international organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservational International (CI, USA), International Trade Union Commission (ITUC, USA). It has also been presented at an earlier session of the MFI-WGE in December 2011 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Comments have been duly incorporated into the ISS document.
A major outcome of the MFI-WGE meeting was an agreement to strengthen harmonization on key issues such as regional integration, accounting and reporting on Greenhouse Gas and Ecosystem Services, as well as information sharing on development and implementation of guidance notes on methodologies and compliance requirements to move towards greater knowledge, strengthening and use of Country Systems and development effectiveness as stipulated by the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda of Action.
The next meeting will be hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank from 7 to 9 November in Washington DC, and will strive to consolidate a common position on GHG accounting as one of the major issues for which sub-groups were tasked to look into and propose a joint position paper.