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Investing in a sustainable future

Paris/Nairobi, January 2000 - Leveraging investments that favour environmental protection and sustainable development was the focus of a meeting involving over 40 representatives from the finance sector, industry, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations. The meeting, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),was held in Paris on 24 and 25 January 2000 and builds upon numerous UNEP activities in the field of finance and environment, particularly the Financial Services Initiatives.

Despite sustainable investments becoming more widely established, potential investors encounter numerous barriers when considering investments in clean or "green" projects and technologies. Various stakeholders have sought UNEP's involvement in helping to overcome these barriers which include the lack of a common understanding and the need for validated information. The Expert Group Meeting on Assessment of Investment Projects for Sustainable Development is the first step in responding to this need.

Within the context of UNEP's Financial Services Initiatives, Dirk Kohler of Gerling Sustainable Development Project, saw a real role for UNEP to work with the private sector "in providing leadership and helping bridge the information gaps which hinder investment in sustainable development projects".

Penelope Hansen, Director of the Environmental Technology Verification Program of the US Environmental Protection Agency, emphasized the "need for a consistent terminology and nomenclature when assessing, evaluating and verifying technology performance".

During the meeting some common objectives were defined to help the finance sector and UNEP work cooperatively to achieve sustainable development solutions. One of the actions identified was for UNEP to engage the cooperation of international financial institutions, aid agencies, development banks and export credit agencies to ensure that solutions are appropriate for developing countries. Other proposed actions include the development of a common nomenclature and the clarification of the essential information required by investors.

"UNEP will continue to develop its partnering work and will be publishing an inventory of green funds, developing a catalogue of rating agencies, working to develop a sustainability rating index and establishing a list of funding sources available to developing countries for environmentally sound investments. These are among the priorities for UNEP in responding to the needs identified during this meeting", said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel.

For more information please contact:
UNEP - Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, Energy and OzonAction Unit,
Mark Radka, 39-43 Quai André Citroën, 75739 Paris cedex 15, France;
Tel. +33 1 44 37 14 27; Fax +33 1 44 37 14 74;

In Nairobi, please contact Tore J. Brevik,
Spokesman/Director of Information, Communications and Public Information,
UNEP, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel.: 254-2 623292; Fax: 623692;

UNEP Information Note 2000/2

Monday 31 Jan 2000
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