MANILA, PHILIPPINES (24 November 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has issued its first “gender bond” to finance a pool of eligible projects that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Asia and the Pacific. The NZ$130 million bond (equivalent ¥10 billion) was purchased in its entirety by Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited of Japan.

The proceeds raised through the gender bond will be used by ADB to finance projects that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, such as ADB’s support for financial inclusion for women. One example is the Second Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Project in Bangladesh, which in addition to access to credit provides women with tools to increase financial literacy and training. 

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are valuable in their own right, but they are also an integral part of fostering more inclusive development outcomes in Asia,” said ADB Treasurer Pierre Van Peteghem. “Through the issuance of this bond, ADB is demonstrating that we can integrate gender considerations into our funding operations. Incorporating gender equality into ADB’s work is essential in our mission to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific.”

Since the adoption of its Policy on Gender and Development in 1998, ADB has recognized that to reduce poverty, helping women and girls must be a priority in its work. ADB reaffirmed its commitment to integrating gender equality into its mission with the adoption in 2008 of its long-term framework of Strategy 2020, which identified gender equality as one of the five “drivers of change” that is stressed in all ADB operations. ADB’s approach to gender equality will continue to be emphasized as an important component of its upcoming corporate plan, Strategy 2030.

Dai-ichi Life continues to improve its investment returns through enhancement and diversification of its investment methods, while proactively expanding ESG investment[1] in an effort to contribute to creating a sustainable society as a responsible institutional investor.  While they secure stable returns through investment in this bond, they support projects for gender equality and women's empowerment in Asia and the Pacific through financing and by regularly following up on the progress of these projects.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

[1] ESG stands for Environment, Society and Governance. Dai-ichi Life follows ESG investment principles that combine safety and profitability with social and public interest (environmental protection, social contributions, promotion of diversity and corporate governance).

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