UNEP - Inquiry into the design of a sustainable financial system


    The agreement

In April 2016 the agreement between the Italian Ministry of Environment and UN Environment - UNEP for the implementation of the “Building a sustainable financial system project: from design to delivery” came into force.

The project (today completed), to which the Italian Ministry of Environment has contributed with a co-financing of about 1,700,000 euros, is part of the UNEP program “Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System” aimed at evaluating the best available financial systems and mechanisms for actions to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to contribute to the development of renewable energy.

Since its launch in 2014, the project has worked with over 20 countries with an approach aimed at identifying national best practices and the most suitable improvement options in the light of the specificities of the various countries (National Dialogue on a Sustainable Finance). In the 2015 report, "The Financial System We Need", thanks to an analysis of the practices carried out in more than 15 countries, UNEP describes a “silent revolution” which is leading to a progressive alignment of the financial system, at the international level, with the objectives of sustainable development.

    Objectives and results

Italy is aware that to achieve the goals set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda on sustainable development and by the Paris Agreement on climate it is necessary to mobilize the financial system at national and international level. The reference to the need of increasing the scope of green and sustainable finance has also been one of the cornerstones of which the Italian presidency of the G7 has become a promoter (G7 Bologna Meeting of Environment Ministers, Bologna, Italy, 11-12 June 2017, and preparatory meetings on Green Finance and Multilateral Development Banks).

Thanks to the collaboration with UNEP, in February 2016 the Italian Ministry of Environment launched a National Dialogue for Sustainable Finance with the aim of making the point of existing practices, analysing strategic challenges and identifying the most suitable policies to carry out a quality jump, starting from the numerous and promising signs of current change. The Dialogue was promoted by the Ministry of Environment together with other Ministries and Independent Authorities; it was divided into a series of working groups involving experts and representatives from the financial and research sectors.

The final report "Financing the Future" was publicly presented on 6 February 2017 at Bank of Italy, in the presence of Governor Ignazio Visco, Minister of Environment Gian Luca Galletti, Minister of Economy and Finance Pier Carlo Padoan and by the UNEP Executive Secretary Erik Solheim.

The report outlines a positive momentum, a wide range of experiences – carried out at various levels (banking sector, insurance sector, public finance, capital market, etc.) – aimed at directing the flow of capitals towards the goal of an inclusive growth at a low carbon content. These promising developments, however, have not yet produced a systematic impact in traditional finance such as to ensure Italy's compliance with international commitments. Among the various actions to strengthen sustainable finance, particular importance is given to measures able to monitor ongoing progress, also through the establishment of an Italian Observatory on Sustainable Finance.

More information on the National Dialogue for Sustainable Finance is available at this page: /pagina/finanza-sostenibile


- Memorandum of Understanding MATTM-UNEP (April 2016, EN)
- Financing the Future (full report in English)
- Finanziare il Futuro (summary of the report in Italian)



Ultimo aggiornamento 04.05.2023