The year 2021 marked the fifth anniversary of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the successful completion of its start-up phase. Since it was up and running in January 2016, AIIB has followed its course of business growth steadily and prudently. We in AIIB have been striving to live up to the expectations of our shareholders and all other stakeholders in our efforts to serve our purpose—fostering sustainable development in Asia. In 2021, we reinforced our commitments to our mandate under our Articles of Agreement by implementing our first Corporate Strategy
, an operation and monitoring guide for the next ten years built on the experience gained and lessons learned in our first five years of operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic, now two years into its health havoc, continues to pose a threat to the international community. The virus continues to mutate, and new variants continue to turn up and spread across the globe, threatening lives and disrupting economic activities. Vaccine development and deployment have helped to a certain extent to contain and manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) and economic recovery has tentatively resumed in some parts of the world. Nevertheless, many of AIIB’s Members still need external assistance to address their emergency pandemic responses and manage their vaccine programs.
In response, AIIB continued our pandemic response efforts under the COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (Facility). As of Dec 31, 2021, 45 projects amounting to USD11.1 billion were approved under the Facility. Looking forward, AIIB will keep a balance between our mainstream business of sustainable infrastructure and our support to COVID-19 emergency plans and recovery.
The COVID-19 crisis has taught us the vital role of digital connectivity in ensuring economic resilience: the continuity of all kinds of businesses, financial and real sectors alike, education, health care and other social services would have ground to a squeaking halt without it. Digital connectivity is a key driver of economic growth and social inclusion in the 21st century, and as such it calls for concerted efforts on a global scale to come up with better solutions for universal access to digital services. Inclusive digital access will definitely help reduce regional discrepancy and gender inequality, which remains a cause for serious concern. As a multilateral development bank (MDB) born in the digital era, AIIB recognizes that the emerging field of digital infrastructure would be a unique opportunity to amplify our impact in Connectivity and Regional Cooperation
and Technology-enabled Infrastructure.
In 2021, we approved 10 projects where digital technologies are actively applied to improve the quality of infrastructure.
The effects of climate change are now felt more acutely than ever before. The year 2021 recorded, among others, the most extreme heat waves in world history and severe flood disasters in Asia and in Europe. To secure a livable future, the world has no alternative but to adopt an ever more aggressive paradigm and take concrete actions to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and adapt more innovatively to increasingly severe climate risks. While climate finance is deeply incorporated in our Infrastructure for Tomorrow strategy as we promote Green Infrastructure
, we have continued to reinforce our climate commitments: In 2021, we announced at our Annual Meeting that our operations will be fully aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement by July 2023, and climate finance will make up more than 50% of our financing approvals by 2025. In 2021, climate financing accounted for 48% of our financing approvals (excluding financings under the Facility), increasing from 41% in the last reporting period, and we will continue striving to grow its share beyond our target.
Our journey continues in 2022 amidst various scenes of uncertainty. The year’s calendar has been beset with disquieting episodes. There have been some disruptions in our normal lending programs under the current circumstances. Other uncertainties, including the further development of COVID-19 and instability of financial markets, are likely to emerge and impact the sustainable development agenda of our Members. We commit to adapt and constantly innovate to provide customized support to our clients in face of the challenges, in collaboration with our Members, the MDB community, and through Private Capital Mobilization
. We will continue our climate efforts in 2022 and beyond. We are implementing our Institutional Carbon Emission Management (ICEM) Plan, which sets up a Monitoring-Reporting-Verification (MRV) mechanism of AIIB’s internal carbon footprint and is the starting point to align our internal operations to the Paris Agreement.
We are proud to present our second impact report under the guidance of our Sustainable Development Bond Framework. Last year, our inaugural impact report received positive attention from a broad range of stakeholders. Thanks to invaluable feedback from our Members, clients, stakeholders, and beneficiaries, we gained experience and built our competencies to develop this report. We commit to further advance our sustainability disclosures in the years to come.
President and Chair of the Board of Directors