On September 29, 2022, Fair Finance Asia (FFA) and the Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in Southeast Asia (GRAISEA) conducted a multi-stakeholder roundtable, “Galvanizing Sustainable & Responsible Finance in ASEAN.” This dialogue brought together representatives from the Cambodian government and parliament, private sector, and civil society organizations (CSOs) to engage with the key findings and recommendations of the FFA-GRAISEA commissioned report, “Harvesting Inequality: The Social Impact of Financial Institutions’ Investments in Asia’s Agribusinesses,” with the aim of synthesizing sustainable finance and gender policy asks for the ASEAN Chair under Cambodia in 2022.
Objectives of the Dialogue:
- Facilitate a consultative dialogue on the strategy levers to better integrate social criteria, particularly gender equality, labor rights, and transparency and accountability, into the ASEAN’s sustainable finance policy framework and initiatives.
- Support the ASEAN Cambodian Chair in synthesizing policy recommendations and feedback from key stakeholder groups with regards to accelerating sustainable & responsible finance, with a strengthened lens on social criteria and impacts.
- Identify meaningful linkages and synergies with other key initiatives on sustainable and responsible finance across the ASEAN to follow through on the next steps resulting from this dialogue.
High-Level Plenary Discussion
The multi-stakeholder dialogue began with a high-level plenary to discuss the key findings and recommendations of the “Harvesting Inequality” report, highlighting needed improvements in the ASEAN financial sector’s compliance with international norms and standards pertaining to thematic areas, including human rights, labor rights, gender equality, and transparency & accountability, as per the criteria of the Fair Finance Guide International (FFGI) methodology.
Roundtable Session 1
In the afternoon, the dialogue moved to deep-dive roundtable discussions, during which representatives from the government, private sector, and CSOs provided inputs to refine the policy recommendations. Roundtable Session 1 invited participants to engage with recommendations related to “ASEAN Investments and financing in the Agriculture Sector” in four areas: lending and investment policies and practices; level playing field; taxonomy; and enforcement.
Roundtable Session 2
Roundtable Session 2 invited participants to engage with recommendations related to “Sustainable Transition for the ASEAN Agriculture Value Chain” in four areas: gender-responsive approach; remediation; human rights legislation; and access to credit and financial products.
Following the high-level plenary and the two roundtable sessions, the policy recommendations were refined and finalized into a policy brief, “Enabling Stronger Due Diligence in the ASEAN’s Financial Sector,” that will be submitted to the 2022 ASEAN Chair under the Royal Cambodian Government. In each main recommendation, the policy brief offers recommendations specifically for Cambodian financial institutions and governing bodies.
For more information, read FFA’s policy brief:
Roundtable Overview: https://bit.ly/3Mcc7H5
Full “Harvesting Inequality” report: https://bit.ly/3RHBHVA
Fair Finance Guide International Methodology: https://bit.ly/3Ep7MhV
Fair Finance Asia (FFA) is a regional network of Asian CSOs committed to ensuring that financial institutions’ funding decisions in the region respect the social and environmental well-being of local communities.
Oxfam’s Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in South East Asia (GRAISEA) program is a regional program funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok. GRAISEA aims to improve the livelihoods of small-scale producers in the agribusiness sector in Asia through inclusive value chains and responsible business practices that drive women’s economic empowerment, integrate human rights, and improve communities’ resilience to climate change.
About Oxfam in Cambodia
Oxfam has been supporting Cambodia’s development since 1979, making it the first INGO operating inside Cambodia during the controversial post-Khmer Rouge genocide period. Oxfam in Cambodia works in a wide range of programs advocating for women Economic Empowerment, Livelihoods for vulnerable groups, Natural Resource Governance, Climate Change Resilience and Sustainable Energy, Financial Inclusion, Social Protection and Decent works, Sustainable and Climate Resilient Agriculture, Civic Engagement, Financing for Development and inclusive green business.