Speech by Masatsugu Asakawa, President, Asian Development Bank, at the Climate and Development Ministerial Session on Increasing Access to Finance and Improving Response to Climate Impacts, 31 March 2021 

Mr. Alok Sharma, Excellencies and colleagues, Congratulations to the UK for hosting this Ministerial to build momentum for a successful UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

The increasing severity of climate impacts is undermining the development gains Asia and the Pacific has achieved in recent decades. Simultaneously, the region’s economic growth has come at a high cost of increased greenhouse gas emissions. To address these challenges, we can no longer take a business-as-usual approach to climate change, and we need to put ambitious climate actions at the center of development.

Finance will be critical for enabling developing countries to adopt and implement the priorities of the National Determined Contributions (NDC) and National Adaptation Plans, especially in the face of very tight fiscal constraints due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Let me highlight three ways that ADB is increasing access to finance and improving response to climate impacts. 

First, ADB’s Strategy 2030 has set ambitious climate targets calling for (i) 75% of the total number of ADB’s operations to support climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030; and (ii) climate finance from ADB’s own resources to reach $80 billion cumulatively between 2019 and 2030. 

In addition, ADB has adopted explicit climate targets for the first time in our Asian Development Fund (ADF), which provides grant resources to our poorest developing member countries. Under ADF 13, which covers the period of 2021–2024, we aim to support climate mitigation and adaptation in at least 35% of our ADF 13 operations by volume, and 65% of the total number of projects, by 2024. Such targets will ensure the spending on climate actions is not compromised in current times and that COVID-19 recovery will be green and resilient. 

Second, ADB is enhancing support for adaptation and resilience through a holistic approach that goes beyond support for climate proofing physical infrastructure to promoting strong integration of the ecological, social, institutional and financial aspects of resilience into ADB’s investments. 

Third, we are supporting an increased focus on the poorest and vulnerable communities in the region. For example, we are working with the UK, the Nordic Development Fund, and the Green Climate Fund to roll out an ambitious community resilience programme to scale up the quantity and quality of climate adaptation finance in support of local climate adaptation actions.  

Moving forward, ADB is developing implementation guidelines that will enable our operations to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We also aim to finalize our new energy policy before COP26, which will be mindful of the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

ADB remains committed to supporting its developing member countries scale up climate actions through finance, knowledge and collaboration with other development partners, and for an ambitious outcome at COP26 and beyond.