The world's biodiversity is in trouble, with wildlife crime, the spread of invasive species, and loss of habitat reducing the number of species. The loss has economy-wide consequences, but biodiversity is especially important for the 870 million rural poor whose livelihoods and safety nets are inextricably linked to natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
Read More »
Washington, September 24, 2014 – Today, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank Group approved a $10 million project to address the decline of important migratory fis... Show More +h stocks in both coastal areas and areas beyond national jurisdiction. The Ocean Partnerships for Sustainable Fisheries & Biodiversity Conservation Project aims to improve the management of high value migratory species and maintain the economic benefits of sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation for developing countries and communities. More than a billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein and about 300 million are employed in jobs linked to healthy oceans.“The health and productivity of global fish stocks are under threat from overfishing, habitat destruction and marine pollution, all made worse by a patchwork of insufficient governance arrangements,” said Paula Caballero, World Bank Senior Director for the Environment and Natural Resources. “There is growing consensus that sustainable management of valuable fish stocks is essential if national and local economies are to continue deriving benefits from them and if we are serious about securing food and livelihoods well into the future.”While many fish populations fall within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of individual countries, migratory species such as tunas, billfishes and sharks travel between EEZs and into areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJs). These fish stocks represent some of the most economically valuable species in the ocean. The tuna fishery alone engages 85 countries and is valued at US$10 billion a year. “The fact that these stocks are both high value and transboundary makes them uniquely challenging to manage effectively,” said Tim Bostock, World Bank Fisheries Expert. “We are now at a crucial juncture. We believe this project will spur the type of innovative and concerted action -- within and beyond national jurisdictions -- that is so urgently needed.”The GEF has committed $10 million in grants to be allocated in four marine regions: Western Atlantic and Caribbean, Bay of Bengal, Western and Central Pacific, and the Eastern Pacific. Grants will facilitate development of innovative management solutions implemented in partnership with regional actors from both public and private sectors.This project builds upon other World Bank ocean and coastal management work including the Pacific Regional Oceanscape Project (PROP) and recent investments to support tuna fisheries management and sustainable livelihoods in India. The GEF is committed to this effort in support of focal areas concerned with biodiversity restoration and cooperative management of international waters. “Productive fisheries, ocean biodiversity and growing coastal economies are not necessarily conflicting objectives,” said Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs at the GEF. “Continued mismanagement of fisheries represents one of the most serious threats to marine biodiversity and livelihoods in developing countries. Reformed fisheries management can contribute significantly to fishery productivity and biodiversity restoration while supporting livelihoods.About the GEF and the World BankThe Global Environment Facility is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It also works closely with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances. The World Bank is one of GEF’s implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and supervising their implementation in areas that are consistent with GEF objectives and national sustainable development strategiesThe World Bank Group’s vision is a world free of poverty. To support this vision, the World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice provides expertise, technical assistance and financing to help developing countries strategically manage their environment and natural resources to end poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner Show Less -
WASHINGTON, September 22, 2014—As more than 120 world leaders converge on New York this week for an unprecedented UN climate summit, one highly significant voice needs to be heard. That voice be... Show More +longs to Africa. In all the global discussions around rising sea levels, shrinking rain forests, imperiled species and biodiversity, green bonds and carbon prices, Africa’s unique stake and contribution to a global climate strategy needs to be more front and center. This is only right for a continent that has contributed the least to the profound changes underway in the Earth’s climate but whose people will suffer its withering impact the most.Consider that Africa is responsible for only 3.8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions yet from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa to the south of the continent, African countries experience first-hand the devastating effects of increasingly severe droughts and floods and more extreme weather patterns that scorch or drown their crops. Africa’s political and business leaders are already committed to a climate-resilient growth path, yet the path promises to be bumpy. Recent World Bank research outlines a disturbing scenario for Sub-Saharan Africa in a 2°C warmer world, forecasting dramatic effects on agriculture and food production in a region where 80 percent of Africans rely on agriculture to make ends meet for their families. Consequently, we cannot separate agriculture and food security from climate change. Agriculture in Africa accounts for 30-40 percent of GDP. A 1.5°C to 2°C increase in temperature by the 2030s and 2040s will lead to a 40- to 80-percent reduction in the area of land suitable for growing maize, millet and sorghum. These cereals are the mainstay of African diets. They provide the bulk of people’s daily food intake especially in the drylands of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. We must also amplify the links between climate change and conflict. In a groundbreaking 2013 paper published in Science magazine, economists Solomon Hsiang, Marshall Burke, and Edward Miguel argued that there is strong evidence linking climatic events to human conflict in Africa and across all other major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate change is substantial they wrote: for each one standard deviation change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%.Africa’s harsher climate of the future will also change traditional livelihoods. As temperatures rise, Africa’s iconic savanna grasslands will dry up and threaten the livelihoods of their pastoral communities. Given the sensitivity of livestock—their goats, cows, and other animals—to extreme heat, too little water and feed, and disease, pastoralism as a centuries-old way of life is likely to be in danger.Rainfall patterns will dramatically change; droughts and floods will be more frequent and lead to a 3-percent expansion in total arid areas. Coastal populations in Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Mozambique would face the greatest risk of inundation and storm surges. Coastal erosion represents a major threat as a large part of Africa’s GDP derives from activities such as fishing, tourism and trade. Entire cities and villages along the coast – capital cities and crucial deep-sea ports -- could be wiped out due to rising sea-levels. Countries such as Togo, Ghana and Mozambique could lose more than 50 percent of their coastal GDP, according to recent estimates. Sustainable management of the region’s rich natural resources—forests, water, land—can contribute to the storage of carbon, while supporting livelihoods and generating economic benefits. Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, also harbors 5 percent of the world’s known biodiversity. Before the country’s political crisis, nature-based tourism was a $500-million industry, growing at 10 percent per year. But the island is also on the list of the most climate change-vulnerable countries which will have a significant impact on its biodiversity.Africa is one of the world’s fastest-urbanizing continents. Parched rural hinterlands will steadily force people to move to already-crowded cities, creating overcrowding, stressing supplies of safe drinking water and drainage and sanitation.At the African Union Summit in Malabo, last June, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete reminded his audience that the “effects of climate change are likely to strike to the detriment of the whole continent". He added that Africa now requires in excess of US$15 billion per year to combat climate change, a figure that continues to rise.The good news is that Africa is uniquely well positioned to build resilience, especially in energy and agriculture, and has already embraced sustainability. Being green is good for business. In Kenya, small farmers are now earning carbon credits from sustainable farming. In South Africa, the city of Johannesburg recently issued its first green city bond to finance low-carbon infrastructure. In Mauritania, solar energy now powers 30 percent of Nouakchott’s energy use. In Africa, wind and solar potential can be over 1,000 GW but needs to be fully exploited.The continent has embarked on a clean power revolution that brings more electricity to people’s homes, businesses, clinics and schools. With only one in three Africans having access to energy, the task is urgent. Africa has tremendous untapped hydro, geothermal, and solar power and must be developed to provide the electricity needed to offer sustained – and green – growth for the benefit of all its citizens.The World Bank is stepping up to the challenge. We are financing transformational projects that attack poverty from multiple angles. We are supporting governments to promote “climate-smart agriculture” so that African farmers can achieve higher yields and make their farming more resilient to the changing climate. In DRC, a $73.1-million technical assistance project will pave the way to bring hydroelectric power to 9 million people. These interventions are just a starting point – not nearly enough to address the monumental energy needs of the continent. Though prices for renewables have declined significantly in the past decade, these energy sources are still costly. The green energy revolution in African cannot be achieved without financial support of the international community, to bring down the costs of adopting these clean technologies. The warning signs are clear: climate change under even the 2°C scenario is a menacing threat to sustainable development in Africa. These impacts could potentially overwhelm existing development efforts. We ignore the early warning signs at our collective peril. But, through collective action, we can ensure a climate-resilient future that benefits all Africans and the entire planet. Show Less -