The Kingdom of Bhutan is considered a development success story, with decreasing poverty and improvements in human development indicators. The Bank's engagement in Bhutan is aimed at supporting the government's goal of Gross National Happiness.
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In less secure households where income and dietary energy supply are low, malnutrition resulting from inadequate caloric intake will be exacerbated by poor dietary diversity. In both cases, increasing... Show More + consumption of nutrient-rich foods is key to improved nutrition outcomes. Show Less -
The World Bank Group-Global Environment Facility (GEF) Program is one of the institution’s largest and longest standing trust-funded programs. Since 1991, when the World Bank helped to establish the G... Show More +EF, it has integrated global environmental benefits across the Bank programs through more than 790 investment projects and programs in 120 countries (pdf) spanning every region of the world.GEF grants directly support actions to combat major environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, polluted international waters, land degradation and desertification, and persistent organic pollutants, as well as stimulate green growth. The World Bank Group program has collectively channeled over $4.8 billion (representing 38 percent of total GEF funding disbursed) in GEF grants to the private sector, NGOs, and client countries over the past two decades, and stands out among for its sustained track record in helping design and support implementation of innovative and tailored solutions to complex multi-sector challenges. Bank Group engagement with the GEF has similarly attracted the largest share of additional funding to global environment issues at $33 billion, drawing on its capacity to bring multiple sources of financing together under a common investment framework.The program supports an active portfolio of over 200 investments which integrate learning by doing, support institutional change and policy reforms, and provide technical assistance to encourage innovation and test new approaches. It has been critical to promoting “readiness” for scaling up second generation investments by focusing on building a solid foundation for other financing partners to invest. Over 40 percent of World Bank Group-GEF projects have been blended up-front with other World Bank resources, while many others have directly led to larger scale follow-on investments. Projects managed by the Bank have also efficiently forged links with other financing sources and global programs, including the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), Carbon Finance, bilateral donors, the Global Fund for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), and the Water Partnership Program (WPP), to make the most of shared agendas and thereby generate significant economies of scale.GEF grants managed by the World Bank Group support low-carbon and carbon-resilient development in client countries that help them adapt to a changing climate by investing in climate resilient approaches. They are used to support sustainable conservation and management of protected areas, integrate biodiversity conservation into production landscapes, and design sustainable financing to encourage long-term biodiversity conservation through, for examples, conservation trust funds to ensure ongoing funding to support management efforts or payment for ecosystem schemes. Efforts also focus on prevention of carbon loss from forests, soil erosion and salinization, recovery of marginal lands, and the introduction of climate risk insurance through adaptation strategies to encourage sustainable land and water management, as well as to enhance trans-boundary cooperation and management of shared water resources in order to mitigate water pollution and build capacity and cooperation across river basins, aquifers, and seas.With a view to phasing out production and use of toxic chemicals, GEF grants also help Bank Group-implemented projects demonstrate safe techniques to destroy harmful chemicals, promote safe chemical use, and introduce emission control technologies to capture toxic gases. GEF grants are frequently paired with other sources of financing to help countries reduce vulnerabilities and increase the impact of the investment in global environmental benefits at the local level.StrategyThe World Bank Group helps client countries identify and tailor appropriate opportunities where targeted concessional funding can help advance national priorities in a more sustainable manner, by ensuring that inter-linked global environment issues are embedded in national investment frameworks in a holistic manner.The GEF program holds a fundamental belief in the higher impact from and merits of “mainstreaming” global environmental issues across all aspects of economic development. We believe it is impossible to separate global environment issues from our core mission of poverty reduction given the strong connections between these issues, and that some global environment issues such as climate change are already impacting national economic development globally in negative ways. The program aims to turn collective global challenges into opportunities for change and transformation onto a more sustainable economic development path, working with the private sector and individual countries to innovate and test new approaches to increase and influence impact at the global, regional, and national levels.The sixth replenishment of the GEF (2014-2018) has received pledges of over $4.43 billion to support developing countries' efforts to achieve the objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Donors have also agreed to contribute new financing to support the implementation of the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury. The World Bank Group-GEF Program stands ready to help client countries use their limited GEF resources to leverage diversified sources of investment to avoid fragmentation and promote higher impact, innovate, share experiences across countries, and promote sustainable transformation and scale-up. Show Less -
The Country Program Snapshot provides an overview of the World Bank Group's work in every country in the South Asia Region on a country program and project level basis. They are updated twic... Show More +e a year before the Spring and Annual Meetings.-Afghanistan-Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Maldives-Nepal-Pakistan-Sri Lanka Show Less -
ContextSouth Asia is one of the most dynamic regions in the world, but it is also one of the least economically integrated. Intra-regional trade accounts for just 5% of total trade, compared with 25% ... Show More +in the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN). With shared history and culture, the South Asia region has a huge potential for economic integration but issues on national identity and internal consolidation have caused political tensions and mistrust between countries, and as a result, intra-regional integration is limited. By building common interests across borders, regional integration could enhance stability in this volatile region -- which is home to 570 million or 44% of the world’s poor -- and pave the way for countries to cooperate on urgent and shared climate change-related challenges which aggravate the risks to sustainable growth.Cross-border trade is especially important for smaller countries and for landlocked provinces/countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Northeast India and Northwest Pakistan. Expanded intra-regional trade, increased investment and supply-chain integration, will need policy reforms, and improvements in regulations, border management, and infrastructure. Measures will need to pay due regard to the security concerns which dominate each country’s view of borders. Small and medium enterprises are likely to play a large role in expanded commerce (relative to power sector cooperation), creating a wider canvas of opportunities for cooperation, reduced mistrust and poverty reduction.South Asian countries will benefit substantially from greater integration through energy trade, commerce and river basin management. The most obvious gains are in the power sector, with connectivity enhancing system reliability, lowering costs and carbon emissions, and relieving debilitating shortages in all countries by enabling the sustainable development of the enormous hydro and gas-based power generation potential of the Himalayas – the “water tower” of Asia – and of Central Asia. Afghanistan and Nepal have water resources that could potentially generate around 24,000 and 83,000 megawatts of electricity respectively. Transmission infrastructure, clean energy generation, and fair pricing agreements across borders hold the key to realizing this potential.Momentum for economic cooperation has been building in recent years and months. India and Pakistan have revitalized ministerial-level negotiations on expanded trade including through granting Non-Discriminatory Access – a similar status to Most Favored Nation (MFN) – to India, reciprocating India’s granting of MFN status to Pakistan a decade ago. India has modernized its Attari border post with Pakistan and has offered to export 500 megawatts of power. India and Bangladesh have enhanced their bilateral ties, including in power trade, and India has extended tariff-free access to its market to all Least Developed Countries in the region. Afghanistan and Pakistan have started implementing a transit and trade treaty which they signed in 2011. Indian investment in Sri Lanka has risen significantly, as has cross-country trade, following a 2001 Free Trade Agreements. World Bank Group StrategyThe overall aim of the WBG regional integration strategy for the next three to five years is to step up support for three main objectives which are listed below:Help put in place the building blocks for an integrated regional electricity market in South Asia (with links to Central Asia) to relieve energy shortages, which are a binding constraint to each country’s prospects for sustainable and equitable growth.Move SAR towards East Asian levels of trade and investment in goods and services to enhance competitiveness and create more and better jobs for the over 10 million young people who will enter the work force each year for the foreseeable future.Improve the in-country and cross-border authorizing environment (attitudes and policy) for regional integration by systematically building awareness and “championship” around the need for, and benefits from, increased regional cooperation. Building on analytical work on the costs of the status quo and high impact opportunities for cooperation, and by leveraging lessons from the South Asia Region and global experience, the strategy will seek to both facilitate sustained action in priority areas where there is already sufficient demand across countries as well as to build support for new high priority areas. Show Less -