About the Coalition
Finance Ministers hold the keys to accelerating climate action. They know most clearly the risks posed by climate change, and recognize how taking action could unlock trillions in investments and create millions of jobs through 2030.
The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action brings together fiscal and economic policymakers from over 90 countries in leading the global climate response and in securing a just transition towards low-carbon resilient development.Learn More
The Helsinki Principles
The six Helsinki Principles guide the Coalition's commitment to #ClimateAction
Helsinki Principle 1: Align Policies with the Paris Agreement
Helsinki Principle 2: Share Experiences & Expertise
Helsinki Principle 3: Promote Carbon Pricing Measures
Helsinki Principle 4: Mainstream Climate in Economic Policies
Helsinki Principle 5: Mobilize Climate Finance
Helsinki Principle 6: Engage in NDC Development
of global carbon emissions
of Global GDP
View recent and upcoming Coalition events, including workshops, webinars and meetings
The Helsinki Principle 4 workstream has published a new report, Driving Climate Action through Economic and Fiscal Policy and Practice.
Mainstreaming measures to halt climate change and mitigate its impacts in policy planning, budgeting, public investment management, and public procurement is essential to effective action. Countries have made progress in these areas, building on robust, evidence-based planning and financial management systems.
The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action recognizes the critical role of ministries of finance in responding to climate change and its causes and impacts. This report highlights the importance of robust action—and the potential consequences of inaction—by ministries of finance. It outlines five key areas to help ministers of finance take leadership on climate change: macroeconomic modeling, climate-informed fiscal risk assessment, green budgeting, public investment and asset management, and green public procurement. The report draws on experiences and practices from member countries and includes a curated list of frameworks, guidance, and tools to support ministries of finance in mainstreaming climate change in economic and fiscal policy and practice.
Image: Mangroves on the Pacific Coast of Panama. Credit: Flickr
On February 10, 2022, the Helsinki Principle 4 and Principle 5 workstreams hosted a workshop to discuss whether it is time for a sovereign climate and nature risks and opportunities reporting framework. Nearly 100 participants tuned in to listen and discuss the relevance of this topic for their Ministries of Finance (MoFs) and for the Coalition overall.
One of the key priorities for the Coalition is to improve members’ understanding of climate- and nature-related physical and transition risks, as well as opportunities that will arise with the transition to net-zero, nature-positive economic models. This systemic change hinges on reliable information, which is key to driving a whole-of-government approach and to mobilizing climate finance. Sustainability reporting can play a central role in driving capital to sustainable investments and away from environmentally harmful ones. Progress has been made on corporate climate and nature reporting, but a significant information gap remains for sovereign entities.
In the workshop, Fiona Stewart (Lead Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank) presented key messages from a recently published World Bank report, ‘Sovereign Climate and Nature Reporting: Proposal for a Risks and Opportunities Framework.’ She laid out the case for countries reporting on their climate and nature-related risks and opportunities and explained why this information is needed to ensure that financial flows are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. She pointed to the importance of providing financial market actors with regular, standardized, comparable information on adaptation and resilience criteria in order to counteract the effects of physical risk leading to increasing sovereign borrowing costs. She explained that reporting could provide sovereigns with the ability to better shape the narrative about their risk management and investment in opportunities.
Next, Ian Carruthers (Chair, International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)) presented a brief overview of IPSASB’s mandate and ongoing work. He explained that IPSASB was actively exploring how it could take forward the report’s invitation to lead a consultative process to gain support for developing guidance for sovereigns on climate and nature reporting and what the key elements of this might be. He also explained how the guidance development process could build on the work done by the International Sustainability Standards Board and the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures on reporting standards for corporates.
Following his presentation, Tim Williamson (Senior Public Sector Specialist, World Bank) reflected that reductions in borrowing costs could potentially provide powerful incentives for government climate action. He emphasized the importance of the discipline of public sector balance sheets and financial reporting as foundations on which credible sustainability reporting can be built. He also noted that many countries are a very long way from full implementation of accrual standards – yet the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. He emphasized the importance of developing a credible sustainability reporting framework that enables better integration of climate and nature-related criteria in financial markets and leads to stronger incentives for climate action – rather than a ‘tick-box’ exercise.
Lastly, Steve Waygood (Chief Responsible Investing Officer, Aviva) gave remarks providing an investor’s perspective. He discussed how Aviva engages with sovereigns on climate and nature-related risks and opportunities and how a standardized disclosure framework could help Aviva attain the information it needs for both analysis and engagement. He explained that credit ratings agencies are taking steps to further integrate this information into sovereign credit ratings and that investors are trying to get ahead of potential downgrades from failure to manage climate and nature-related risks. He discussed the growing demand from consumers for ESG investment options and how ESG disclosure is increasingly being considered as critical to market integrity in the UK. Steve explained that climate risks are just as endogenous for governments as they are exogenous and reporting is an important step towards addressing both categories of risks (further information on this is available in this Coalition report).
Lennart Duschinger (Sustainable Finance Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Luxembourg) acted as a discussant and shared feedback on the presentations. He was supportive of the proposal, but also noted how challenging and resource intensive it was for Luxembourg to develop the reporting needed for its sovereign sustainability bond (issued in 2020). He also shared some of the benefits of developing this reporting – noting how working across eight different ministries on the bond reporting created champions for sustainable finance in each and led to more harmonized communication across government. His advice to other members of the Coalition was that sustainability reporting is a journey and not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. He emphasized the importance of getting started and committing to continuous progress over time.
Roberto Lazzeri Montano (General Director, Unit of Public Credit, Ministry of Finance, Mexico) also acted as a discussant. He shared supportive feedback on the proposal, while acknowledging the extent of the work related to public financial management Mexico and many other middle and low-income countries still have to do. He discussed Mexico’s experience with reporting on its SDG bond and shared that the country has received a lot of interest from investors on sustainability-linked bonds. He talked about the importance of middle and low-income countries being able to allocate resources to address the risks they are reporting on.
The event concluded with an engaging Q&A session moderated by Samantha Power (Coordinator for the Helsinki Principle 5 workstream). The necessity of developing a phased approach to reporting was emphasized by all speakers, as was the need for technical assistance and capacity building for countries which embark on this reporting journey. A principles-based approach to reporting, rather than a prescriptive one, was recommended. Steve Waygood spoke about the need to harness the international financial architecture to deliver a smooth and just transition, and for governments to ensure that finance and the real economy once again operate within the nine planetary boundaries.
Pekka Moren (Coalition Sherpa Co-Chair, Ministry of Finance, Finland) provided closing remarks. He noted the critical role MoFs have to play in driving Paris alignment through mainstreaming climate into economic policies. He acknowledged the importance of discussing sovereign climate and nature reporting, as reliable information and processes for tracking it are core to mainstreaming. He suggested that the Coalition should support members in taking concrete steps to begin on their respective reporting journeys, including helping them to overcome financial and capacity constraints. He reflected that the workshop provided useful feedback on the role of the Coalition in advancing sovereign reporting. He emphasized the need to raise awareness among finance ministers of the policy relevance of reporting, the practical challenges involved, and the need to build-up expertise and capacity. Pekka welcomed an update from IPSASB on the development of a sovereign climate and nature reporting framework in the future and noted that the Coalition looks forward to suggestions on how finance ministries can contribute to this effort.
The Helsinki Principle 2 workstream has published a new report, Strategies for Mainstreaming Climate Action in Ministries of Finance: Governance, Capacities, and Research Practices.
The active engagement of Ministries of Finance in national efforts to address climate change is critical from a horizontal, economy-wide perspective, as they are responsible for implementing economic, fiscal, and financial policies. It is therefore vital that climate change considerations are mainstreamed in their work. Yet mainstreaming climate into economic and financial policies requires significant changes in approach and investments in capacity. Ministries of Finance will need to evolve strategies, expertise, tools and management practices accordingly.
This report assesses the current situation in Finance Ministries in addressing climate change and mainstreaming climate action, explores the concrete steps needed for increased climate mainstreaming -- including mapping existing options, boosting training programs, and expanding IP engagement -- and provides findings on actions by MoFs and the role of the Coalition to take this agenda forward.
HP5 Stakeholder Dialogue with Credit Rating Agencies on How Climate Criteria Are Being Integrated into Sovereign Ratings
Given the potentially growing economic and fiscal impacts of climate-related physical and transition risks, and growing demand from investors for information on these risks, credit rating agencies (CRAs) have taken steps to better integrate these risks into sovereign credit ratings in the context of their mandate. These ratings can impact countries’ borrowing costs.
Ministries of Finance (MoFs) and Debt Management Offices (DMOs) are increasingly being tasked with managing climate change as part of their economic and financial policies and communicating effectively to key market actors – including CRAs and sovereign bond investors – actions they are taking to develop resilience and transition their economies to net-zero models. Countries are taking different approaches to managing physical and transition risks and communicating this information to market actors, depending on the country context. In addition, countries are increasingly issuing green bonds as part of their strategies to meet their climate targets.
In this stakeholder dialogue, Coalition members learned about the approaches of CRAs in assessing climate-related risks. The dialogue supports the work of both Helsinki Principle 5 (mobilizing finance and greening financial systems) and Principle 4 (economic policies and public financial management). At the start of the session, Dieter Wang (Sustainable Finance Specialist, World Bank) provided an overview of the current backdrop of how climate and other ESG criteria are being integrated into sovereign credit ratings, drawing on the findings of a new World Bank report, Credit Worthy: ESG Factors and Sovereign Credit Ratings. The presentation highlighted several recommendations for how sovereign credit ratings could better reflect credit material ESG factors. These included better reflecting a country’s natural assets as well as risks and opportunities related to the low carbon transition in sovereign credit rating assessments.
Next, representatives from Moody’s (Marie Diron, Managing Director of Sovereign Risk, Moody’s Investor Services) and S&P (Joydeep Mukherji, Sector Lead for Sovereign Ratings in the Americas and ESG, S&P) presented on how each of their agencies is integrating climate-related criteria into their credit ratings – including how they are approaching the low-carbon transition and stranded assets. Following their remarks, Maximilian Abt (Credit Risk Management Officer, Credit and Climate Risk Department, Climate-related and Environmental Risks Unit, European Investment Bank) presented the EIB’s views on and approach to this issue. Discussants from Ireland and Indonesia responded and shared their respective experiences communicating climate-related information to CRAs and sovereign bond investors. They also discussed challenges associated with the timeline of credit rating assessments and the timeline to transition to a net-zero economy. Below is an image from the World Bank report that illustrates this time horizon discrepancy.
Participants engaged in a dynamic Q&A session moderated by Bryan Gurhy (Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank). In response to questions about whether environmental criteria could be better integrated into credit ratings, rating agency representatives acknowledged that their understanding of climate criteria and the relationships between environmental, social, and governance factors is continually evolving. The representatives shared that while more data on environmental factors is needed, they are also working with existing data and tools to improve their predictions about how climate change and the zero-carbon transition are likely to play out in each country. The CRA representatives explained that they engage with sovereigns in order to understand country transition strategies and assess government capacity to implement the country’s strategy. The representatives emphasized their view that ESG is so deeply integrated into the credit rating assessment of a sovereign that it cannot be separated out as a stand-alone rating.
Pekka Moren (Finnish Co-Chair Sherpa) thanked all the presenters for their informative presentations and acknowledged the importance of this topic for the Coalition across the Helsinki Principles. He highlighted the need for follow-up work on this topic, including at the Ministerial level and in the context of mainstreaming climate into economic and financial policies. Managing the economic and fiscal impacts of the transition, including borrowing costs, is a key concern of Finance Ministers.
Coalition Publishes 2021 Green Recovery Report: Building Momentum for Strong Recovery and Sustainable Transformation
The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action has published a flagship report on green recovery efforts. The report, Building Momentum for Strong Recovery and Sustainable Transformation, builds on the Better Recovery, Better World report, published in July 2020. It assesses progress on recovery and emphasizes the need for sustainable investment—reinforced by policies and the effective use of all pools of finance—to accelerate a just transition and deliver on climate goals.
Image credit: Dave Hoefler / Unsplash.com
On November 18, the Helsinki Principle 4 and 5 workstreams hosted a joint workshop on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA). Serina Ng (Lead for HP5, Her Majesty’s Treasury, UK) opened the event, followed by a presentation from Alessandra Alfieri (Chief, Environmental Economic Accounts Section Economic Statistics Branch, Statistics Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) on NCA and the UN SEEA Central Framework and SEEA Ecosystem Accounting.
Raffaello Cervigni (Lead Environmental Economist, Lead of the Global Program on Sustainability Trust Fund, World Bank) then presented on the World Bank’s assistance to countries in implementing NCA and provided an overview of the findings from the World Bank report, The Economic Case for Nature, and relevant policy implications. Alastair Johnson (Senior Economic Adviser, Environment Analysis Unit, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, UK) and Adam Johnson (Economic Adviser in the Green Book and Major Projects Unit, Her Majesty’s Treasury, UK) presented on the UK’s experience with NCA and how the information from these accounts are being used.
Sam Mugume (Ag, Assistant Commissioner, Macro Economic Policy Department, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda) shared Uganda’s experience setting up NCA, how implementing NCA has facilitated cooperation between various parts of government, and challenges that remain in most effectively utilizing NCA data. Finally, Irene Alvarado Quesada (Director of Environmental Statistics Unit at the Central Bank of Costa Rica) provided the central bank perspective on how and why the Costa Rican Central Bank is engaged in implementing and managing the country’s NCA. The presentations were followed by a discussion on how the private sector is using or can use national NCA information and progress of corporations in applying corporate NCA approaches.
NCA is a critical tool Ministries of Finance can use to better understand and manage their natural assets. Natural capital accounts, once in place, can help governments make more informed decisions about development as well as investment in conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of nature. In many countries, these assets are being depleted, leading to an overall decrease in wealth that jeopardizes future growth. In addition to leading to more effective governance of natural assets, providing data on natural assets to the private sector can better inform private investment decision making about how to manage the natural assets that companies depend on or impact through their operations. There is potential for improved data provision on natural assets to mobilize private investment for nature.
The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action took center stage on Finance Day at COP26 (November 3, 2021) and showcased the crucial role Ministers of Finance have to play, working together across all regions, to keep an average global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
On this occasion, the Chairs of the Coalition and the NGFS released a Chairs Joint COP26 Statement expressing support for the COP26 process and highlighting key areas where Ministries of Finance, Central Banks, and financial sector supervisors can help shift the trajectory towards net-zero.
The full text is below:
Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System
Chairs Joint COP26 Statement
November 3, 2021
On the occasion of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), we, the Co-Chairs of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action (the Coalition), and the Chair of the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), reaffirm our commitment to mobilizing our organizations to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Our two entities recognized from the start that achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement requires ambitious climate actions from all Parties, and, from the public sector, stepped-up climate engagements and broader alignment of economic policies. Against this background, finance ministries, central banks and financial supervisors need to take action within their respective fields of responsibility to implement appropriate economic policies and promote financial flows “consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development” as set out in the Paris Agreement.
To that end, we have fostered close dialogue and collaborative action, at both national and international levels, between finance ministries and the community of central banks and supervisors. Joint events and workshops have enabled members from both organizations to discuss, learn, and identify areas for collaboration. Over the past few years, we have pushed the idea of building back better as well as looking forward, in the context of a robust post-covid green recovery, calling for the incorporation of climate considerations in recovery plans. We have also identified the importance of training and capacity building among our members and look forward to cooperating in these areas.
We recognize the potential to work together more closely on key priority areas, including the assessment and analysis of the economic and financial impacts of climate change (such as forward-looking scenario analyses and prudential stress tests), as well as the implications for the conduct of economic policy and the preservation of financial stability. We believe that a transition consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting average global warming to 1.5°C is within our collective reach, provided we take strong action without delay and implement well-designed policies that will together create the incentives needed to enable an orderly transition.
Given the urgency to achieve net-zero and climate-resilient economies, we will work within our respective fields of responsibility to help ensure the readiness and resiliency of the financial sector and drive change in the real sector. Action by central banks, supervisors, finance ministries, as well as line ministries, can play a key role in mitigating climate-related risks for enhanced investment, especially the private sector. We recognize the importance of private capital mobilization. Success hinges on our collective ability to address climate change in a comprehensive manner through ambitious mitigation efforts, investments in adaptation and resilience, and policy measures that ensure a just, inclusive and equitable transition.
We acknowledge that beyond the potentially significant economic and financial implications directly associated with nature loss, global climate and nature goals are closely intertwined and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services could undermine climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, while exacerbating climate risks. Addressing these issues will be critical for a successful transition to net zero. Conserving and restoring forests and other critical ecosystems, as well as transitioning to more sustainable agricultural and land-use practices, can help substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase sequestering of atmospheric carbon. Against this background, we will strive to better reflect cross-cutting issues related to agriculture, forests and other land uses in our work.
Finally, we recognize that our strength is rooted in our diverse and committed membership. We proudly chair global organizations comprised of low-, middle- and high-income countries that all resolve to urgently scale-up efforts to ensure a smooth transition toward a net-zero, climate-resilient and nature-positive economy. We will continue to work closely together to raise ambition and accelerate action.
On the occasion of the Coalition meeting at COP26, the Coalition published a short paper titled Mainstreaming Climate into Economic and Financial Policies. The report draws on the work of the Coalition’s six workstreams and the priorities set forth by its Members at the Ministerial meeting held on 12 October 2021, and highlights the deepening engagement of Finance Ministries on the climate change agenda.
The report can be downloaded here.