Sovereign GBs, Case Studies from 2017/18:The 7 Steps to Issuance:New Climate Bonds Paper

The 7 Steps to Sovereign Issuance-We look at all the SGBs to date

What’s it all about

This Briefing Paper is the latest in a new series of Climate Bonds publications analysing contemporary developments in the green bond market. The focus is on sovereigns, a new issuer in the green bond space, and their key role in growing local markets and meeting national climate targets.

Annual Conference Launch

The paper was launched at the Climate Bonds Annual Conference as part of a Green Sovereigns: How-to sessions that included Justine Leigh-Bell from Climate Bonds, Anne Leclerq from Belgium Treasury, Elise Calais, AFT France, Philip Brown, Citi & Aaron Levine, IFC, Fiji.


What’s in the Briefing Paper?

  • Case studies of sovereign green bonds since Poland’s issuance in December 2016. Sovereign bonds from Poland, France, Fiji, Nigeria and Belgium are profiled. At a sub sovereign level green issuance from the Australian State of Victoria, North Rhine Westphalia in Germany, California and Ile De France are also examined.
  • The benefits of issuing a sovereign green bond, including providing strategic direction, attracting new investors, creating domestic green markets, mobilising private capital and leading on the international stage.
  • A detailed step-by-step guide on how to issue


Who’s saying what?

Mr. Piotr Nowak, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Finance: Poland

“It is always difficult to be the first and set a precedent. Poland decided to take a responsibility and did its very best to a close successful transaction. Now it can serve as an example to other Sovereigns that Governments can efficiently finance their environmental projects on green bond market.”


Frank Bainimarama, Fijian Prime Minister and President of COP23 announcing the Fijian Sovereign

“The Fijian people, along with every Pacific Islander, live on the front lines of climate change and we are proud to set an example to other climate-vulnerable nations by issuing this green bond to fund our work to boost climate resilience across Fiji.”

“By issuing the first emerging country green bond, we are also sending a clear signal to other nations that we can be creative and innovative in mobilizing funds and create win-win outcomes for countries and investors in adapting to the serious effects of climate change.


Diletta Giuliani, Climate Bonds Senior Policy Manager & Lead Author

“Sovereign green bonds can be a tool to help nations develop their green finance markets, increasingly recognised as a core component of achieving NDC and SDG commitments.”

“For nations looking to boost domestic markets and encourage banks and other issuers to act, a sovereign green bond can provide scale and liquidity to the market, encourags trading and facilitate price discovery for other green bonds.”


Seven steps to issue a sovereign green bond

The process of issuing a sovereign green bond is similar to that of issuing a standard green bond. However, there are some additional steps to consider, given the more complex organisational nature of governments, the type of expenditures they can entail and their debt’s benchmark role in domestic capital markets.

The Briefing Paper outlines the seven basic steps and provides detailed examples of how countries have done this so far:

1. Engage governmental stakeholders

2. Establish a green bond framework

3. Identify eligible green budget items

4. Arrange independent review

5. Issue the green bond

6. Monitor and report

7. Repeat


The Last Word

Want more? The IFC has last week released a new report marking lessons from Fiji’s historic making move in being the first emerging economy to issue a sovereign green bond. Well done to the IFC for their support to the island nation. 

We’d like to see more work by MDBs to back emerging nations in green issuance.

Who’s next to Issue?

Hong Kong has already set the bar high, foreshadowing the world’s largest green sovereign program. Other countries are regularly mentioned as new market entrants. 

We won’t go any further except to repeat part of CEO Sean Kidney’s comment from early January when we announced the global record $155.5bn green bond issuance figure for 2017.

“Following the initial sovereign issuance from France, Fiji and Nigeria, the door is open for G20 and OECD countries to act on individual sovereign issuance in 2018 and provide stakeholder or supranational support for similar initiatives and market development in emerging economies.”

Or as COP23 President and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama puts it:

“We are all in the same canoe”

‘Till next time,

Climate Bonds 

Acknowledgements: The Briefing Paper was written by Diletta Giuliani and Beate Sonerud with support from the Climate Bonds Team. Our thanks to the Polish Ministry of Finance, the French Treasury, the Nigerian Ministry of Environment and Mr Nick Robins for their input to the publication.



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