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The IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund program EcoMicro wins United Nations climate solutions award

Dec 10, 2014

EcoMicro, a program that works with microfinance institutions to develop green financial products in Latin America and the Caribbean, has been awarded a 2014 UNFCCC Momentum for Change - Lighthouse Activity Award by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. EcoMicro, which is co-financed by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and the Nordic Development Fund, will receive the award today during the UN’s COP 20 Climate Change Conference in Lima.

In spite of demonstrated need and demand throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, many micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises are not able to access funding for clean energy or energy-efficient technologies that could reduce energy costs and improve competitiveness.  In addition, smallholder farmers cannot access finance for adaptation activities that could reduce their vulnerability to climate change. EcoMicro seeks to bridge this gap by providing microfinance institutions (MFIs) with the appropriate tools and know-how to develop and offer sustainable financial products. 

"The poor and vulnerable are on the front lines of climate change impact.  And they have much to gain from cost savings and better quality of life through access to renewable technologies. But they lack ways to fund the upfront costs,” said MIF General Manager Nancy Lee. “We are honored to receive this award for the innovative EcoMicro program, which is helping microfinance institutions around the region achieve a triple win:  serving these clients, developing new business opportunities, and benefiting the environment.”

“These activities are assisting communities, cities, businesses, governments and institutions to move towards a low-carbon, highly resilient future,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said when announcing the 12-winning projects, including Ecomicro. “The 2014 Lighthouse Activities show that action on climate change is not only possible but that it is already happening – injecting confidence into the global movement towards a universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.”

EcoMicro has enabled microfinance institutions to green their operations and reduce the vulnerability of their loan portfolios to climate change impacts. Funds are used to develop, market, and launch green finance products in each participating microfinance institution – unlocking private funds that would not otherwise be available for climate activities.

150 institutions in the region have competed for the 12 EcoMicro grants. Seven projects are already underway and five other projects are being developed. Highlights of the EcoMicro program in Latin America and the Caribbean to date are: 

  • 12 microfinance institutions are being trained to develop green financial products for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.
  • Microfinance institutions in Mexico and Peru are expected to mobilize an additional US$ 5.9 million in financing to provide clean energy and energy-efficient solutions for more than 5,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in poor regions, enabling them to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%.
  • More than 1,000 smallholder farmers in Bolivia, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic are receiving technical assistance and finance as part of projects testing different models for adaptation financing. 
  • In Bolivia, a US$1 million concessional loan from the Climate Investment Funds will help scale up the product and reach an additional 1,000 smallholder farmers.

The 2014 Lighthouse Activity Award winners were selected by a 25-member international advisory panel as part of the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative. 

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at 

About NDF

The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) is the joint development finance institution of the five Nordic countries. The objective of NDF's operations is to facilitate climate change investments in low-income countries. More information at

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