UNEP supports Pioneer Facility to drive funding for women-led climate projects in Asia


Photo: Courtesy of Nexus for Development
Photo: Courtesy of Nexus for Development

Bangkok, Thailand – Climate-friendly and women-led enterprises in Asia will benefit from USD 7 million in private financing through the Pioneer Facility, a flexible debt financing fund that supports multiple low-carbon projects and social enterprises across Asia. This facility is fundraising additional investment capital with the support of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which is playing a catalytic role by implementing a grant-based risk-reducing mechanism to attract private investments into the facility. This risk-reducing mechanism was implemented with grant funding from the Governments of Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland through the EmPower: Women for Climate-Resilient Societies Programme (EmPower), jointly implemented by UNEP and UN Women.

The facility will disburse the loans through 2027 to climate-focused small and medium enterprises. Forty per cent of these loans are earmarked for enterprises that meet gender lens criteria. Beneficiaries can receive up to USD 500,000 in flexible debt financing, with no collateral. Enterprises that are women-focused and benefit underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Pioneer Facility is managed by UNEP partner Nexus for Development, an international non-profit with operations in Cambodia, with expertise in debt and carbon finance and funder of multiple low-carbon projects across the region.

 “We have had the opportunity to work with EmPower since 2019, when we partnered on their feasibility study to assess the financial landscape of women’s led or women’s supported businesses in Cambodia,” said Laura Alsenas, Executive Director of Nexus for Development. “We’re incredibly proud to now be working with the team on this next phase, where we can drive funds to enterprises that are ready to scale their impact in the climate space across Asia and bring considerable environmental and social benefits for women and other marginalized groups in these communities.”

The Pioneer Facility helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to scale climate-positive, low-carbon, clean water, clean energy, and waste management solutions and bring positive benefits to low-income communities, women, and marginalized groups.

“While large companies and institutions implementing renewable energy projects can access finance with relatively less difficulty, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, in particular those led by women, continue to face barriers. That is why the focus of EmPower through the Pioneer Facility is to ensure that affordable finance for clean energy is accessible to women and marginalized communities, contributing to a gender-just energy transition,” said Parimita Mohanty, Programme Management Officer at UNEP.

EmPower aims to strengthen gender equality and human rights in climate change and disaster risk reduction in the Asia and Pacific region. By investing in the Pioneer Facility, EmPower will increase its reach in priority markets, including Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, and Viet Nam.

Find out more: https://www.nexusfordevelopment.org/campaign