The Union of Arab Banks and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), in cooperation with the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions, launched the series of virtual workshops “Focused Climate Risks and TCFD Workshops for Tunisian Banks under a SDG-Climate Facility Project”, addressed exclusively to the Tunisian banking sector during the period 22, 24, 29 and 31 March 2021.
These workshops, convened by UNEP FI under one of its Regional Projects, aimed to raise awareness among financial institutions in Tunisia about the impact of climate change on their operations, provide tools that will help financial institutions manage potential physical and transitional risks in financial portfolios, and learn how to integrate climate change in their systems. These workshops also included a detailed introduction to the Financial Stability Board Task-force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which has become the global framework for reporting on climate risks.
More than 50 Managers from the sustainability and risks departments in Tunisian banks attended the workshops. The final session, which was attended by CEOs of participating banks, was inaugurated by the opening speech of His Excellency the Secretary General of the Union of Arab Banks, Mr. Wissam Fattouh, delivered by Dr. Zakaria Hammoud, Adviser to the Secretary General and Mr. Mohamed Akrabi, member of The Union of Arab Banks Board of Directors and President of the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions. Both Mr. Hammoud – on behalf of Mr. Fattouh – and Mr. Akrabi thanked the UNEP FI for facilitating these workshops and stressed on the continuation of cooperation with UNEP FI in the field of sustainable development and responsible banking.
The workshops concluded with a set of recommendations for participating banks to enable them to pursue and integrate climate-related insights into their day-to-day operations and risk management.
These recommendations align with the TCFD guidance including:
- Gaining Senior-Management and Board-level buy-in on climate-related financial disclosures by the bank
- Establishing the team needed to identify the climate-related risks, conduct analysis and produce disclosures
- Identifying and following a climate risk management methodology
- Building capacity and raising awareness in the bank regarding physical and transition climate risks and their impacts on operations.
Additionally, among the objectives of conducting these workshops was the creation of a Middle East and North Africa TCFD working group. As the region is one of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change, this working group will aim to provide collective support to participants seeking to tackle critical climate issues in their banks and play a positive role in a sustainable future.