ADB’s SERD Innovation Hub: Fostering Green and Innovative Finance across Southeast Asia

Video | 22 March 2021

This video presents the ADB’s Innovation Hub for Southeast Asia, its mission and objectives, key activity pillars, and achievements in addressing environmental challenges while promoting catalytic approaches to mobilize funds and bridge the infrastructure financing gap in ASEAN, including the establishment of the pioneering  ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF).

ADB’s Southeast Asia Department established the Innovation Hub in 2018 to both accelerate green investments in the region and utilize innovative financing approaches for sustainable investments. The goal of the Innovation Hub is thus to address the significant financing gaps in green investments in this dynamic region by better leveraging each $1 of sovereign finance to mobilize between $5-$6 of global pools of capital into projects. The hub’s strategic approach plays a critical role for the region to meet its climate and green infrastructure challenges. The Innovation Hub’s focus is especially relevant for spurring a green recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic and could provide a model for replication across developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Transcript

Voice over: ASEAN is one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Its 10 countries combined comprise the fifth largest economy in the world. ASEAN grew at around 4.4% in 2019 and is home to almost 650 million people.

Voice over: But climate change, pollution and a lack of resilience are all impacting on growth. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase. ADB estimates that without further action, the region’s footprint could be 60% higher in 2050 than in 2010. At this rate, the goals of the Paris Agreement remain elusive.

Cleo Kawawaki, Former Deputy Director General, Southeast Asia Department Asian Development Bank: ASEAN faces severe challenges and there’s an urgent need for climate resilient infrastructure investment.

Voice over: To address some of these challenges, ADB’s Southeast Asia Department set up the Innovation Hub in 2018 to create value added solutions for the region. The hub has two critical objectives: accelerating green infrastructure development and catalyzing private capital from many sources.

Ramesh Subramaniam, Director General, Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank: In the pandemic context we believe the Innovation Hub can play an even stronger role because the Southeast Asia region has significant potential to bounce back where a green recovery is going to be very critical.

Voice over: The hub team is working on more than 20 projects to improve the way they are structured and to integrate climate solutions and technologies. One major success has been the ADB-supported Cambodia solar project, that has achieved the lowest power purchase tariff for a solar project in Southeast Asia.

Anouj Mehta, Unit Head, Green and Innovative Finance and the ACGF Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank: The top four achievements of the Innovation Hub are; bringing a real green and innovative focus to projects so that projects are better structured to leverage in capital from a number of sources, including the private sector. Number two, creating the first, perhaps the first green fund of its type in the world; the ASEAN green facility, regionally owned and managed by us. A very quick response to COVID, with one of the first TA’s – technical assistance projects post-COVID. And number four, bringing a focus in on accessing capital markets, with bond issuance being improved and increased faster.

Voice over: The ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility was launched in 2019 at the ASEAN Finance Ministers meeting. It combines $1.5 billion in resources from the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund and other development partners to de-risk green infrastructure projects and attract multiples of private capital. In its first year, the facility has approved three projects which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions of around 72,000 tons per year, along with significant other green benefits.

Anouj Mehta, Unit Head, Green and Innovative Finance and the ACGF Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank: Where does the hub go from here? I think it’s very clear, it’s helping countries engineer a green recovery post-the COVID pandemic. With government budgets under massive pressure for COVID relief operations, there’s always the danger to go off track re: the Paris Agreement and commitments. As such, we are committed to working with the countries and also our partners, indeed we are talking to two or three partners to create these green recovery funds which in turn can create a pipeline of projects which are bankable, scaleable and can attract funds from both the public and private sectors so the green recovery is both hastened and accelerated.