Middle East and Central Asia > Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of

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Bozena Radzewicz-Bak, Jérôme Vacher, Gareth Anderson, Filippo Gori, Mahmoud Harb, Yevgeniya Korniyenko, Jiayi Ma, Moheb T Malak, Dorothy Nampewo, and Sahra Sakha
The financial sectors of the Middle East and Central Asia (ME&CA) countries should play an important role in supporting climate-related policies for the region. The sectors are vulnerable to downside risks from climate-related shocks and at the same time offer the potential to help fill the financing gap for needed adaptation and mitigation strategies. Successful approaches to climate change in the region therefore need to coherently integrate financial sector strategies within the overall policy framework to meet this important challenge. To this end, policymakers must ensure that financial sectors are prepared for a green future. This means enhancing the resilience of banks to physical and transition risks from climate change and boosting the capacity of insurance sectors to speed recovery from climate-related disasters and help offset economic costs. Moreover, policies are needed to foster an enabling environment for private green finance, attract investment from other official entities, such as sovereign wealth funds (SWF), and facilitate support from international financial institutions and multilateral development banks. In the near term, policy efforts should center around better understanding and measuring climate-related risks. This includes prioritizing the implementation of methodologies for quantifying and reporting such risks, promoting their transparent disclosure by financial institutions, and strengthening frameworks for their forecasting and analyzing. Over the medium term, governments can play an important role in supporting green finance through incentives and market mechanisms, phasing-out energy subsidies, and introducing new tools and markets (such as carbon pricing frameworks), which can stimulate demand for investment in green technologies. The paper offers a unique regional perspective on climate risks in ME&CA's financial sectors and outlines the road ahead in transitioning to a green future. It is the first to evaluate the impact of climate change on banking institutions in the region and assess the capacity of insurance in mitigating climate-related damages and losses. It contributes to the existing literature by synthesizing the size and nature of regional financing needs for adaptation and mitigation and discussing both opportunities and challenges for the development of green finance. The paper's policy recommendations provide guidance to policymakers on how to develop regulatory responses to enhance financial sustainability amid climate change risks.