The African Development Bank (AfDB) and five other multilateral development banks (MDBs) have agreed to significantly leverage their commitment to sustainable development.
The concord between the AfDB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the World Bank Group, was made at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, "Rio+20", currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro.
The MDBs' cumulative investments in sustainable development activities has averaged USD 93 billion annually in the past five years. In a joint statement, the six MDBs said: "The need for transition towards green growth has been recognized as key to sustainable development and prosperity. We are committed to supporting this transition to green growth - growth that is attained with a smaller environmental footprint, is inclusive and achieves gains in opportunities and access to resources by all segments of the population to reduce income inequity."
The MDBs added that Rio+20 provided "a unique opportunity to launch a renewed strategy for sustainable development."
The MDBs said that the rationale behind the proposed increase in sustainable development spending was that a new "green paradigm" needed a "concerted global effort to innovate and substantially scale up current efforts."
For its part, the AfDB has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable development and green strategies. It is a crucial area of action for Africa. The continent contributes the least to greenhouse gases but tends to suffer the most, in terms of flooding, droughts, and desertification, among other natural disasters.
The AfDB has developed its Green Growth Vision Paper and is investing approximately USD 6.4 billion over a five year period between 2011 and 2015 through its Climate Action Plan in the energy, transport, water and agriculture sectors. Also, as sustainable development finance is critical for African economies, the AfDB has invested in a host of instruments such as the Congo Basin Forest Fund, the Clim-Dev Africa Fund, the African Water Facility and the Africa Carbon Support Program.
Commenting on the statement, the AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka, said: "African countries' pressing need for growth to combat poverty at a time of runaway population growth mean that development policies must be fashioned to reduce the environmental impact. And the same African countries also need to position themselves so they benefit from promoting green economic growth."