I wish to welcome all of you this morning, to this forum on Sustainable Financing.
I am the Country Director for the World Bank in the Philippines or more specifically, for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We have partnered with our sister agency, the IFC, and the National Engineering Center of the University of the Philippines, in organizing this forum.
Prior to moving to Manila a couple of months ago, I was based in Beijing, China as the Portfolio Operations manager of the IBRD, managing a large portfolio of infrastructure projects. I am an Environmental Engineer by training and I led a project in the Philippines about 10 years ago, the Manila Third Sewerage Project. So I am familiar with some of the issues you face in financing projects sustainably in the Philippines.
As you all know, the World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:
· End extreme poverty
· Promote shared prosperity for the bottom 40% for every country
This goals are very much in line with the ambition of the Philippines people and their government. And as in any country, these goals cannot be achieved without the development being carried out in a sustainable manner – in particular to ensure that development does not come at the expense of the environment or the community, especially the marginalized and the poor.
Helping clients to manage the environmental and social risks of their projects is an important facet of the work of the World Bank Group. The IBRD has 10 safeguards policies covering environmental assessment, natural habitats, forests, pesticides, Dam safety, physical cultural resources and social issues such as involuntary resettlement and Indigenous Peoples. The IFC has a slightly different set of policies called performance standards. IBRD is currently in the process of updating its safeguards policies and procedures and we expect the new policies or procedures to be in place soon.
I am happy to see that here in the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is working with IFC and the IBRD to include sustainability in the operations of financial institutions. I understand there are more than 30 financial institutions represented in this forum, including commercial banks, government financial institutions, and our colleagues from the Asian Development Bank. I am happy to note that ADB is also participating in this forum. It is important to keep this dialogue going. This agenda and the dialogue that you have established together, is a very important step towards achieving sustainable development for the Philippines.
I wish you all a very good morning and fruitful discussions over the next two days.