Task force boosts green investments, sustainable growth

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Sustainable Finance (ITSF), a joint venture co-chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), is scaling up efforts to propel the Philippines towards a greener economy with the release of the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy Guidelines (SFTG) and the enactment of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code.

In a press statement, Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto stressed the strategic importance of these initiatives.

“The Department of Finance has been working hard to come up with innovative financing strategies for the Philippines to position itself as a global leader in the climate adaptation and mitigation front. We will set an example for other countries to follow—showing them that real and lasting change is possible through strong commitment and leadership,” Recto said.

Endorsed by the Monetary Board on February 14, 2024, the SFTG serves as a pivotal classification tool for businesses, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to discern environmentally and socially sustainable economic activities.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will observe an adaptation period through the end of 2024 to facilitate banks’ implementation of the SFTG principles.

Complementing the SFTG, the PPP Code aims to create a reliable and predictable milieu for public and private sectors to bridge the infrastructure financing divide. Its implementing rules and regulations, signed on March 21, 2024, incorporate investors’ feedback and align the nation’s PPP framework with international best practices.

Additionally, the PPP Governing Board’s Resolution No. 2018-12-02 provides safeguards to mitigate negative environmental and societal impacts of PPP projects.

In concert with these frameworks, the CCC revealed forthcoming key policies: the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Determined Contribution Implementation Plan (NDC IP), expected to be published and localized for implementation in April and June 2024, respectively.

The NAP will bolster effective adaptation planning, while the NDC IP will detail actions and arrangements for the Philippines to fulfill its climate commitments.

Undersecretary Maria Luwalhati C. Dorotan Tiuseco, who chaired the ITSF meeting on March 15, 2024, underscored the direction of the task force’s roadmap.

“We are currently preparing the ITSF roadmap for climate finance to focus on adaptation efforts with mitigation co-benefits, which entails developing a sustainable pipeline of projects and policies for project design, implementation, and monitoring for 2025 onwards,” she elaborated.

The Undersecretary called upon member agencies to contribute their expertise and insights for a collaborative approach towards a comprehensive climate finance roadmap.

With updates on carbon pricing instruments and access to climate finance provided by the DOF, member agencies are optimistic that these integrative policies will drive public and private investments aligning with the country’s climate objectives.

Key representatives from various government institutions including BCDA, BSP, CCC, DA, DBM, DENR, DILG, DOE, DOST, DOTr, IC, NEDA, MinDA, and PPP Center participated in the strategic meeting, marking a unified effort to usher in a sustainable fiscal landscape for the nation.