EIB President Werner Hoyer participated in the thematic session "Multilateral climate resilient debt clauses" during COP28, on 4 December.

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Dear Prime Minister,
Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some may argue, we should consider that each and every one of us is responsible for their own fate. For their successes and their failures. For their fortune, but also their debts.

And as liberal and a banker, I heard this many times myself. But I’ve seen too much over the last decades in foreign policy and in banking.

Too often, our fate is simply the product of circumstances: history, past mistakes, pure chance, or natural disaster.

Increasingly, our prospects are undermined by what I call “unnatural disasters”. Tragedies caused by climate change.

These tragedies strike us with increasing intensity and frequency.  No one is safe – just look at what happened in rich places like Canada or Hawaii last summer.

But some are more vulnerable than others. For example, small island nations, which are victims of our collective failure.

So, what is to be done?

First of all, fix the problem that’s causing this: climate change. That’s why the EIB has phased out financing for fossil fuels and is investing record amounts in renewables.

Second, show solidarity. That’s what we are trying to do with the Climate Resilient Debt Clauses. We give our partners breathing space, deferring loan repayments when disaster strikes.

Why are we doing it? It’s not because we are noble or generous. We are a bank, and a successful bank is one that earns the trust of its partners and clients.

We also don’t want climate change to propagate food and water insecurity, conflict, and mass migration. A liveable planet is in the interest of our shareholders – EU member states. But in order to do that, we need the whole world to join the fight.

And the world will not join the fight unless we show – not with words, but with action – that we are in this together. That’s why we must share the opportunities from the green transition. And also share the risks and costs of a warming planet.

That’s why the European Investment Bank has started to offer Climate Resilient Debt Clauses in its loan contracts. Not because we are priests, but because we are bankers. A good banker looks upon his clients as equals.

Thank you.