Microfinance and Climate Change

Bridging academic research with field practice
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This first issue of “Passerelles” looks at microfinance and climate change from the perspective of practice and research, it analyses the opportunities and challenges for sustainable development at the macrolevel, meso-level, and micro-level, and it presents the key actors, initiatives, and ideas.

A first article, written by Marc Bichler, Ambassador-at-Large for Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg, presents the political agenda with respect to sustainable development for 2015 and beyond. His article focuses on the funding needs for climate action, as well as on the methods to meet these needs. The past experience of microfinance in attracting funds, defining objectives, and proving results is taken into account, and the article also analyses the future potential of microfinance in terms of climate action.

A second article, jointly written by Marion Allet, Davide Forcella, and Juana Ramirez, experts in the domain of microfinance and climate change, analyses a sample of microfinance institutions with respect to their motivations for “going green”, their offer in terms of energy products and services, as well as their environmental governance and management. The article identifies key drivers, key players, and overall trends with respect to microfinance and climate change and specifically focuses on the Central American context.

The last part of the magazine, finally, is devoted to the experiences of two MFIs, FUNDECOOPERACIÓN from Central America/ Costa Rica and CARD from Southeast Asia/ The Philippines. Interviews provide information on the different country contexts and the situation of a small, specialized foundation, engaged in environmental activities and in microfinance, as well as a large, fully-fledged microfinance institution. There appear similar lessons learned with respect to microfinance and climate change, but a close collaboration between research and practice is key in order to translate them into perspectives for the future, and thus to seize the opportunities and to master the challenges of sustainable development. The present issue of “Passerelles” tries to contribute to this collaboration and to the exchange between researchers and practitioners.

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