20 Feb 2019

Finance Ministry Coalition for Climate Action to meet in Helsinki

Ministers of Finance and Economy can drive a global change.

By Petteri Orpo, Minister of Finance, Finland

At the 2018 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Bali last October, 39 countries came together to discuss the role of finance ministries in enhancing climate action and ways to strengthen their efforts. Several countries expressed strong support to establish a Coalition of Ministers of Finance and Economy to promote domestic and global action on climate issues.

With my colleague, Minister Larraín from Chile, we decided to lead this work. As a first step, we invited representatives of finance ministries and key institutions to Helsinki on 21-22 February.

Climate action must have a global reach. Therefore, it is encouraging that participants from five continents will join us, with a good mix of small and large countries, ranging from developing countries to G20 countries. Finance ministries taking climate action as a priority is a learning-by-doing exercise. We need constructive dialogue, a sharing of knowledge and analytical work by institutions, such as the World Bank, IMF, OECD, as well as the UN as well as the European Commission.

Helsinki meeting
The meeting in Helsinki will focus on key objectives, the structure of co-operation, and future work priorities. The aim is to develop a set of common principles for climate action by finance ministries. Good practices will be discussed in areas, such as environmental fiscal reform, climate-informed budgeting and planning, public investment management and mobilization of private finance.

Participation in this meeting will give countries the opportunity to shape the content and level of ambition articulated by these principles. The principles take into account that countries are at different stages of development and capacity.

We expect these Helsinki Principles to gain further support after the meeting. The principles will be presented for endorsement by the Ministers of Finance and Economy at the Spring Meetings of the WB and IMF in Washington DC, in April.

From Nordic way to global action
Nordic countries have collectively recognized that climate action should be our primary goal. The Nordic Prime Ministers and Ministers of Environment met in Helsinki in January, where they agreed to work towards carbon neutrality in the Nordic states, and to take a leading role in the green transformation of the global economy. The Nordic Investment Bank has been a great support in this transformation with its innovative approach to green financing.

We need to take this ambition to the global stage. Ministers of Finance and Economy are in a position to take action that has concrete results. We need continuity and a commitment to work towards commonly agreed principles. Only by taking consistent actions and communicating these clearly, are we able to make a decisive shift towards a path of sustainable growth.