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Finance, encompassing public and private activities that deal with the allocation of credit and capital resources, serves as a critical driving force for real economic growth. The transition to an inclusive green economy, in particular, will be capital demanding. However, the current financial system often fails to take into account the long-term social and environmental impact of certain economic activities, resulting in underinvestment in green sectors and overvaluation of environmentally damaging assets such as the fossil fuel industry.

In response to the gap between the capital resources needed and current investment flows, endeavors are being made to align the financial system with the needs of green growth. The UNEP Inquiry results, released in late 2015, demonstrate a growing new generation of policy innovation aiming to ensure that the financial system serves the needs of inclusive, environmentally-sustainable, economic development by central banks, financial regulators and standard setters, in both developed and developing countries. Additional research and understanding will help the international financial system prioritize the green economy agenda and propel green growth.

Relevance to the SDG

Sustainable Development Goal 1, target 1.4, calls for increasing access to appropriate financial services, including microfinance, to poor and vulnerable population. In addition, SDG 10 target 5 calls for improvements in regulation and monitoring of the global financial system.

SDG 1.4
   SDG 10.5
Sustainable Financial System

Case Studies

Panorama, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), GRID-Arendal, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Learning Products

The Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance
Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Metcalf Foundation, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nature United, Ducks Unlimited, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPWAS)


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)