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Sri Lanka starts sustainable finance drive backed by the IFC

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka can be a regional leader in sustainable finance given the commitment shown by the country towards environmental and social outcomes, with the President himself backing the initiative, officials said.

Sri Lanka is one of 31 countries that has joined the sustainable banking network (SBN) that is promoted by the IFC, a member of Washington-based World Bank group.

"Sri Lanka has the potential to become a global and regional leader in sustainable finance," Arif told a forum in Colombo attended by President Maithripala Sirisena, who is a keen promoter of environment protection.

The workshop is aimed at developing a sustainable finance road map. Already 15 countries in the IFC network had developed sustainable finance policies and roadmaps.

"Environmental and social protection is an essential part of a development strategy," President Sirisena said.

"Powerful countries that attained high economic growth without paying attention to the environment is paying a price and the impact is also felt elsewhere. Today we have a severe drought.

"For the benefit of the entire humanity, plants and water bodies have and physical assets have to well-managed.

"I hope that the efforts of the central bank, financial sector, with the IFC and World, and guided with international expertise will be successful. They can work together with other government agencies."

Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said out 18 banks have already given proposals to strengthen sustainable finance.

"In Sri Lanka President Sirisena had put sustainability at the heart of economic development," he said.





"It sends a strong signal from the very top of government in Sri Lanka."

Sri Lanka’s central bank which joined the network last year and had an opportunity to learn from the experience of others, he said.

Bankers from Philippines and Indonesia who has helped drive initiatives in their countries were on hand to share their experience with Colombo. (Colombo/Feb28/2017)

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