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BCIE, UNDP Share Lessons Learned Supporting Green Businesses in Central America

4 September 2012: The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) and the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Regional Center for Latin America and the Caribbean organized a symposium on "Sharing Lessons of Green Business for Biodiversity, Renewable Energy and Climate Change," from 23-24 August 2012, in the City of Knowledge, Panama City, Panama.

The aim of the symposium was to share experiences on successful financing mechanisms to promote biodiversity conservation, greater use of renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. A key focus of the event was the seven-year, US$30 million Central American Markets for Biodiversity (CAMBio) project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by UNDP and executed by BCIE, wherein capital is provided to intermediary financial institutions with capacity to provide financing to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Access to financing is conditional on a series of requirements relating to care of biodiversity and environmental sustainability.

Also showcased during the symposium were the work of the Accelerating Investments in Renewable Energy in Central America and Panama Project (ARECA), and the BCIE's "Green SMMEs" Initiative. ARECA was created by the GEF, UNDP and BCIE to support financing of renewable energy projects under ten megawatts (MW) by reducing financial barriers and increasing capacities of the financial and energy sectors in Central America and Panama. The Green SMMEs Initiative was begun by BCIE with financial support from the EU and the German Development Bank (KfW) to support small energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Central America.

The symposium also sought to interest Panamanian financial institutions to become active in such initiatives, and to identify which groups of Panamanian SMMEs would be interested in obtaining loans and technical assistance to invest in "biodiversity-friendly" or "climate friendly" business lines. [BCIE Press Release (in Spanish)] [Symposium Conclusions and Recommendations]