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Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs

First sovereign gender bond issued by Iceland

The Republic of Iceland has issued a gender bond in the amount of 50 million Euros, the equivalent of ISK 7.5 billion. The bond bears a 3.4% fixed rate coupon and has a 3-year maturity. The bonds are issued off an Annex to Iceland´s Sustainable Financing Framework on Financing for Gender Equality and are the first of its kind for this type of issuer as no sovereign has previously issued labelled gender bonds. The transaction was a private placement issued to Franklin Templeton, solely arranged by BNP Paribas.

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs:

“The gender bond is an exciting addition to our portfolio of sustainable debt, as we issued our first green bond earlier this year. By being the first sovereign to issue a gender bond, Iceland is using its international leading position when it comes to gender equality to set an important example for other nations with a new approach to mobilising financial markets and public finance to promote gender equality.” 

The proceeds from the issue will finance Government expenses that advance gender equality in the coming years. Eligible expenditures are, on one hand, expenditures that aim to provide decent living standards for women and gender minorities in a vulnerable position. This includes increased supply of affordable housing that benefits the target group, mainly low-income women, the majority of whom are single parents and/or have reduced work capacity. On the other hand, expenditures may go towards projects that contribute to reducing and redistributing the burden of unpaid care and domestic work. Eligible expenditures include increased maximum payments during parental leave, intended to allow and create incentives for both parents to make use of their equal right to paid parental leave following the birth of a child.

Frederic Zorzi, Global Head of Primary Markets at BNP Paribas

“It is a privilege to have supported the Republic of Iceland in this first sovereign gender bond, which demonstrates the country’s vision and leadership in harnessing capital markets to tackle gender equality. The progressive use of proceeds also positively supports economic resilience and the social advancement of women, paving the way forward for sovereigns to innovate across public and private finance.”

The Annex to Iceland’s Sovereign Sustainable Financing Framework, published in 2023, describes how the Government of Iceland will mobilize financing to achieve its ambitions to enhance gender equality and attain the SDGs. The annex defines five project categories based on key challenges related to achieving SDG 5. These challenges include a gender income gap, unequal responsibility for the household and family as well as sexual and gender-based violence. The project categories are:

W1: Economic advancement and empowerment of women.
W2: Essential social services and decent living standards for women in a vulnerable position.
W3: Reduce and redistribute the burden of unpaid care and domestic work.
W4: Eliminate and prevent all forms of gender based violence.
W5: Contribute to Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls internationally.


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