Innovative collaboration ignites the West African sustainability scene

Gold Standard and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Benin came together in West Africa last week to progress their collaborative efforts in advancing climate action and driving local sustainable development, bolstering the country’s commitment to its existing SDG Framework.

West Africa Map

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – 21/03/2023 – Gold Standard and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Benin gathered in person last week to commemorate their collaboration, which was established in November 2022 During COP27. The cooperation between the parties is an effort to contribute to national and international socio-economic development through activities that reduce emission and build resilience to climate change, through the use of the certification products and services available under Gold Standard. The visit entailed meetings between Margaret Kim, Gold Standard’s CEO and Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy and Finance for Benin, alongside site visits to new projects and capacity building workshops.

Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy and Finance for Benin and Margaret Kim, CEO of Gold Standard met in Benin to discuss their collaborative work on sustainable development. 

In July 2021, Benin became the first African country to publish an SDG Bond Framework Document which initially secured a EUR 500 million 12.5 year SDG bond in the international market. The Bond focuses on the priority sectors of agro-industry, water and sanitation, health, affordable housing, education and renewable energy. Benin has made pioneering progress by establishing several projects to date, and now looks to partners such as Gold Standard to guarantee the quality and impact of the projects, and the monitoring of a new asset classes.

This collaboration will accelerate the delivery of the sustainable objectives highlighted in the government’s strategic action plan (Programme d’Action du Gouvernement “PAG” 2021-2026). In addition, both parties discussed the integration of the Gold Standard Impact Registry with the newly established National Carbon Registration Authority, securing the integrity and quality of the carbon projects. The parties will also explore using Gold Standard’s sustainable finance tools to ensure Benin’s SDG project pipeline maximize sustainable development impacts.

Margaret Kim and other Gold Standard members visited the DEFISSOL PV solar plant project, the first to be registered with Gold Standard under this collaboration. This is one of many planned projects – across energy, regenerative agriculture and forestry – expected to be registered under Gold Standard in the coming years. As with all projects certified under Gold Standard, all projects shall align with a minimum of three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This large-scale renewable energy project aligns with SDG 13 by taking action to combat climate change and its impacts, SDG 7 by ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy, and SDG 8 by creating sustainable local jobs and economic growth.

Margaret Kim, CEO of Gold Standard visited a solar project site in Benin.

During the week, Gold Standard delegates hosted an in-person workshop for ministerial representatives and related partners involved in the carbon market within Benin. The workshop was designed to increase understanding of key Gold Standard requirements and guidelines such as the project certification process and engagement with the Gold Standard Impact Registry, while also providing the opportunity to build understanding of wider carbon market developments.

Gold Standard CEO Margaret Kim said:

“Our mission at Gold Standard is to a climate security and sustainable development for all. Our partnership with the Ministry of the Economy and Finance of the Republic of Benin will support the Government to access market mechanisms to drive sustainable development while meeting the country’s National Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, and to explore innovative financial instruments to further drive finance where is it most needed.”

“I was delighted to visit some of the ongoing Gold Standard projects in Benin and am sure that this collaboration will lead to many more in future.”

Minister of Economy and Finance for Benin, Romuald Wadagni said:

“Benin’s strategic objectives for the future is the sustainable industrial transformation of its economy while tackling climate change objectives. Our collaboration with Gold Standard will accelerate the Government’s delivery of the energy and agricultural transition through additional capital mobilization, guaranteed by the highest standards of integrity and quality. This collaboration anchors Benin’s position as one of the most innovative countries to tackle climate change challenges by designing impactful projects combined with an optimum funding structure.”

“I was delighted to share the Government vision with the Gold Standard team, and I am convinced that strengthening their local presence will unleash the impact and the potential of this market in Africa.”

Gold Standard is a standards body operating in the carbon market and beyond, including work with governments across the world to steer finance towards climate and sustainable development impact with its internationally renowned standard ‘Gold Standard for the Global Goals’. The standard is being applied by governments to deliver national climate objectives, to certify climate impacts under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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