CAMBio Promotes Experience Exchange Among Financial Institutions
27 June 2012: The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) gathered seven national financial institutions participating in the Central American Markets for Biodiversity (CAMBio) project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to exchange examples of success in financing biodiversity-friendly commercial initiatives.
The meeting, organized jointly with El Salvador's Banco Hipotecario (Mortgage Bank), was held from 21-22 June 2012, in San Salvador, El Salvador. Participating in the exchange were executives from Costa Rica's Pérez Zeledón Cooperative of Savings and Credit and Multiple Services Alliance (COOPEALIANZA), Costa Rica's Improsa Bank SA, the National Bank of Costa Rica, the Guatemalan Association for Development (AGUDESA), and Guatemala's BANRURAL and Workers Bank (Bantrab).
Each discussed success stories from their institution's efforts under the CAMBio programme to assist and finance biodiversity-friendly projects in such business segments as sustainable tourism, organic agriculture and agro-forestry approaches to coffee growing. For example, Banco Hipotecario discussed its Financing Program for Specialty Coffee, where the Bank provides not just loans but also technical assistance, including help and payments for obtaining certification as coffee grown in a biodiversity-friendly manner.
Under the seven-year, US$30 million CAMBio project implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by BCIE, capital is provided to intermediary financial institutions with capacity to provide financing to small, medium and micro 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. [BCIE Press Release (in Spanish)]