On 11 December, at the 25th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25), the VEB Group held a session on a green approach to urban sustainability. The delegation was headed by VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairman Cesare Ragaglini.
The session was opened by Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mikhail Rasstrigin, speaking about Russia’s main climate change initiatives.
Cesare Ragaglini told the audience about the new role of VEB.RF as a coordinator of development institutions and VEB.RF’s new priorities in urban development, noted the significance of VEB.RF’s involvement in Russian national projects and underlined that they were consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
According to Ragaglini, VEB.RF shares international concern about climate change. “Russia is a party to the Paris Agreement, ratified in September 2019. In the issue of climate change, countries are so interdependent that any green initiatives in one country will be of benefit to the entire global community,” he said.
VEB.RF’s representatives also emphasised the importance of adopting a practical approach to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. In this connection, Cesare Ragaglini mentioned that a high proportion of projects approved by VEB.RF in 2016–2018 met the green project financing criteria of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC). Additionally, VEB.RF’s representatives described the programme to implement the Environmental Protection national project and presented VEB.RF’s participation in the project worth 155 billion roubles to build energy-from-waste plants in the Moscow Region.
The session also noted that the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 could not be attained without the adequate development of urban areas, which are home to most people in the world. In this context, DOM.RF presented the results of its efforts to develop and test-operate the Urban Environment Quality Index and the Integrated Territorial Development Standards based on international best practices.
The session took place at the pavilion of the International Development Finance Club. VEB.RF has been actively involved with IDFC since its inception in 2011. The IDFC members are 26 national and regional development banks from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. IDFC traditionally focuses its efforts on the global issues of climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
About COP 25
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in May 1992 and entered into force in March 1994. The parties to the UNFCCC are currently more than 180 countries, including Russia, taking joint action to mitigate climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The signatory nations (Russia signed the UNFCCC in 1994) agreed to implement national climate change programmes, carry out studies and report on their findings.
The Paris Agreement is an agreement signed by 195 UNFCCC members in 2015 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and curb the increase in global average temperature as part of efforts to reduce global warming.
VEB.RF and Gazprombank to Participate in Creating Russia’s Track & Trace System
The financial institutions will give a syndicated loan totalling 24.2 billion roubles.
VEB.RF, Gazprombank and Operator-CRPT (a subsidiary of the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT)) have signed a syndicated loan agreement for 24.2 billion roubles. The loan will be provided through the Project Financing Factory to finance the project to create the Chestny ZNAK track & trace system.
The project is structured as a public-private partnership between CRPT and the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. The agreement is the first PPP in information technology and the first federal-level PPP in Russia.
CRPT shareholders will invest more than 220 billion roubles in creating and developing the system over 15 years, with a payback period of seven or more years. This will enable the government to achieve its goals of combating the grey economy and counterfeit goods without budgetary financing.
The syndicated loan is limited to a total of 24.2 billion roubles, with VEB.RF’s commitment of 8.7 billion roubles and Gazprombank’s commitment of 15.5 billion roubles.
“This project is important for the transparent operation of the entire consumer goods sector. Its implementation will make it possible to formulate equal and fair rules for commerce. Consumers will receive reliable protection and will be assured that they buy things coming through distribution channels authorised by the original manufacturer or trademark owner,” VEB.RF’s First Deputy Chairman – Member of the Management Board Nikolay Tsekhomsky said.
“Signing the syndicated loan agreement with Gazprombank and VEB.RF made it possible to achieve financial closure in Russia’s first federal-level public-private partnership project. The project will result in building the Russian track & trace system in important sectors such as the production and sale of pharmaceuticals, milk and consumer goods, as well as substantially reducing the sale of counterfeits,” Gazprombank’s Deputy Chairman of the Management Board Alexey Belous commented.
“We have already created the track & trace system with more than 6 billion unique digital codes for cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, furs and footwear. The number of product categories increased on 1 December, and the system will continue to develop next year. Cooperation with VEB.RF and Gazprombank will improve the operator’s financial flexibility in the next 18 months and create the conditions for the accelerated introduction of new product groups, including dairy products intended for the ultimate consumer,” CRPT’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Mikhail Dubin said.
The project to build the Russian end-to-end track & trace system is scheduled for completion in 2014, covering a wide range of goods. The existing system is used for tobacco products, certain pharmaceutical products, fur coats, tyres, footwear and perfumes. Starting from January 2020, the system will include all pharmaceuticals. As from June 2020, inclusion on the track & trace system will be mandatory, including for dairy products.
Belarusian Government and VEB.RF Agree on Financial Support for Exports to Third Countries
The Belarusian Government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, and VEB.RF have agreed on the terms and conditions of VEB.RF’s support for both Belarusian exports and Russian-Belarusian joint exports to third countries.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance Maksim Yermolovich on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Belarus and First Deputy Chairman – Member of the Management Board Nikolay Tsekhomsky on behalf of VEB.RF.
This is the first agreement under the government’s export support programme updated this year. The main changes in 2019 allow the export support mechanism to be used for exports not only to Russia but also to third countries (outside the United State of Russia and Belarus).
“Belarusian manufacturers can now take advantage of the Russian programme to have subsidised loan interest rates for the export of Russian-made components in their end products. Buyers from third countries will, in turn, be able to use the Belarusian programme subsidising interest rates for products imported from Belarus and containing Russian components,” Nikolay Tsekhomsky said.
The agreement between VEB.RF and the Belarusian Government provides for all kinds of soft-term financing involving non-resident banks under the updated programme: direct lending to buyers, interbank lending to the buyer’s bank and post-financing for documentary export credits. The agent bank under the agreement is Bank BelVEB, VEB.RF’s Belarusian-based subsidiary.
“Bank BelVEB initiated changes to the programme specified in Decree 466. Signing the first agreement with VEB.RF was the logical thing to do. This is another important contribution of the VEB.RF Group to the Belarusian economy and the promotion of closer integration with the Russian Federation by developing a financial infrastructure for export support. That is why Bank BelVEB encourages Belarusian exporters to join this unique programme,” Bank BelVEB’s Chairman of the Board Vasily Matyushevsky said.
To receive financing from VEB.RF, Belarusian exporters should use at least 30% of Russian-made components. Financing is offered for up to 5 years.
The agreement will enable Russian and Belarusian exporters to take advantage of a new mechanism helping them to enter the potentially lucrative markets in Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia.
The VEB.RF Group will provide Central Exurban Passenger Company (CEPC) with lease financing for six EP2D electric multiple units designed to carry passengers, composed of 11 carriages each and made by Demikhovo Engineering Works (part of Transmashholding).
Th total amount of financing will be 4.4 billion roubles.
The electric multiple units will be used by CEPC for its commuter rail services. This will enable old trains to be retired and replaced by modern rolling stock.
The passenger carriages are equipped with comfortable seats for long-distance commuters. Air conditioners and purifiers provide thermal comfort and acceptable air quality, which is especially important in winter.
EP2Ds meet the needs of passengers with disabilities. The carriages are outfitted with ramps and durable safety belts for wheelchairs.
“It is our conscious decision to pay particular attention to cooperation with the regions under the programmes to modernise urban public transit and replace commuter rail systems. Passenger flows, of course, are different everywhere; but this should not affect such socially significant projects. We have already started to finance this deal,” VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairman Artyom Dovlatov commented.
Economic Integration in Greater Eurasia VEB.RF’s Priority for SCO IBA Presidency
The RSK Bank of Kyrgyzstan handed over the presidency of the Interbank Association of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO IBA) to VEB.RF.
By tradition, the presiding bank offers a substantive agenda to the partners and organises a business programme to share experience and best practices. Specifically, a seminar for the IBA members will take place on Day 0 of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi in February 2020, and the BRICS and SCO Joint Financial Forum is scheduled for July 2020.
The agenda proposed by VEB.RF as the presiding bank features topics such as inclusive growth through financing for high-quality infrastructure, and strategic partnership to pursue together the UN Sustainable Development Goals. VEB.RF proposes that its partners should continue expanding the use of national currencies, update the database of joint projects, and find common risk assessment approaches. The agenda also includes discussions on the implementation of new financial instruments such as project financing guarantees.
VEB.RF’s presidency will pay particular attention to developing infrastructure and creating an advanced urban economy. Accelerating urban development is now a key driver of economic growth. VEB.RF is ready to share its expertise and discuss the partners’ experience in this area.
VEB.RF’s Chairman Igor Shuvalov said: “The presidency of the SCO IBA is an important mission for VEB.RF. We believe that our main task is to promote development in Greater Eurasia. It is also important to take into account all integration processes: the creation of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Belt and Road Initiative, and efforts of the Eurasian Development Bank, the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Mutual trade and investment, along with joint projects, require closer financial cooperation. We will work together with our partners to contribute to creating a common economic space and developing top-tier infrastructure from the Pacific to the Atlantic.”
For information: The SCO’s Agreement on Interbank Cooperation (Association) was signed on 26 October 2005.
SCO IBA member banks: Development Bank of Kazakhstan, RSK Bank of Kyrgyzstan, China Development Bank, VEB.RF, Amonatbonk State Savings Bank of Tajikistan, National Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Foreign Economic Activity, Habib Bank Limited (Pakistan), India Infrastructure Finance Company.
SCO IBA observers: Eurasian Development Bank, Belarusbank, Development Bank of Mongolia.