Over the last 20 years, countries have been acting locally and collectively as an international community to ensure that the conservation and sustainable use of the environment leads to sustainable growth, helping to lift people out of poverty permanently. Read More »
Pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks, biodiversity loss, and overuse of water and land increasingly threaten countries’ development efforts. The immediate and long-term consequences of climate change—from a warmer planet to more-acidic oceans—further threaten progress on poverty reduction and development.
Environmental degradation also hampers economic progress. Lack of action to address health-impairing air and water pollution, for example, is costing some countries the equivalent of 4 percent of GDP or more a year. Policy failures account for many perverse incentives in the efficient use of natural resources, and without strong institutions and governance frameworks in place, taking action to reduce environmental risks has a low chance of success.
Between 2004 and 2013, the World Bank (IBRD/IDA) committed loans for $31.8 billion, from which IDA’s contribution was $7.7 billion, to support investment in environment and natural resource management. By far, climate change has been the fastest growing environment and natural resource management area the Bank is supporting in client countries.
A sizable portion (15 percent) of the Bank’s environment and natural resource management commitment went to environmental policy and institutions for improving governance and strengthening environmental policy and natural resource management. Other than climate change, the World Bank’s environment and natural resource management loans were directed in large part to water resources management (25 percent) and pollution management and environmental health (21 percent).
Strengthening environmental policies and institutions
The World Bank has contributed to the major expansion of policy analysis of environmental issues at the country and sector levels using Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) approaches. SEA integrates environmental and social considerations into policies, plans and programs, particularly in sector decision-making and reform.
Using Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) approaches, the World Bank has worked with its partners to undertake over 40 country environmental analyses (CEAs) since 2005. Many of these provided the date needed to form the basis for longer-term environmental programs.
In Ghana, the CEA was the catalyst for a $40 million Natural Resources and Environmental Governance Project. In Colombia, the CEA helped identify priority areas of reform that were included in the country’s 2006-10 National Development Plan. Average annual policy lending (through Development Policy Loans - DPL) for environmental issues increased from US$328 million in FY03-07 to US$1,535 million in FY08-12. For example, the Peru environmental DPL supported the creation of the Ministry of Environment in 2008, and a new agency for national parks, air quality monitoring networks and public disclosure of air quality information.
Last Updated: Sep 20,2013
In June 2012 the new World Bank Group Environment Strategy for FY 2012-2020 was launched. It articulates a vision for a “Green, Clean and Resilient World for All” and prioritizes scaled-up action in a number of key areas.
The green agenda focuses on nurturing more inclusive growth, while protecting biodiversity and ecosystems by:
enhancing countries’ decision making through the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services global partnership that supports valuing countries’ natural capital assets and incorporating them into their systems of national accounts;
finding ways to restore the world’s oceans to health and economic productivity through working with a broad coalition of governments, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations and private companies through the Global Partnership for Oceans; and,
testing the market’s willingness to encourage protection of critical habitat areas while also providing carbon storage benefits through continuing innovative work on forests and land use linked to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program.
Under the clean agenda, the focus is on continued support to countries to find low pollution and low-emission development paths through:
South-South exchange on best practice for managing pollution;
scaling up use of cleaner stoves to help reduce indoor air pollution;
supporting countries on river cleanup and legacy pollution issues; and,
improving energy efficiency, encouraging a shift to renewable energies, finding climate- smart agricultural solutions, and building cleaner, lower-carbon cities.
The resilience agenda aims at reducing vulnerability to climate risks through:
supporting countries to find climate change adaptation solutions, such as better coastal zone management;
minimizing the damage of natural disasters in terms of loss of life and structural damage;
improving the resilience of small island and developing states.
Last Updated: Sep 20,2013
Over the past decade (2004-13), the World Bank committed loans for US$31.8 billion, from which IDA’s contribution was US$7.7 billion, to support investment in environment and natural resource management.
Funding biodiversity conservation: The Bank has supported biodiversity protection in productive landscapes, including forestry, coastal zones, and agriculture. The first phase of the Amazon Region Protected Areas program (ARPA) helped double the area of the Brazilian Amazon under strict protection, from 12 million hectares at the start of the project to about 25 million hectares in 2008. An additional 10 million hectares were set aside in sustainable use areas to conserve biodiversity and provide improved livelihoods for traditional forest dwellers. In Africa, through the Strategic Partnership for Fisheries, the Bank is supporting a program of investments and partnerships to increase sustainably the net economic benefits generated by Africa’s marine fish resources and the portion of benefits captured within the region. The program includes regional fisheries investments, starting with the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) from Mauritania to Ghana.
Reducing pollution risks and environment-related health issues: The World Bank has contributed to improved air quality and health outcomes throughout more than 600 cities in China; managed hospital waste in Vietnam; had coastal zone and river basin management projects in India, Vietnam, and Pakistan; addressed indoor air pollution in Madagascar, Bangladesh and Uganda; addressed industrial pollution in India and air pollution through the Clean Air and Safer Mobility project in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and reduced particulate matter concentrations in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which has one of the highest concentration levels of particulate matter in the world. The Bank has also helped to strengthen the institutional capacity of state pollution control boards in India and promoted industrial pollution control through financial intermediaries in Egypt and Brazil.
Helping countries to implement natural capital accounting: Through the World Bank-facilitated partnership – Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) – Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and the Philippines have embarked on natural capital accounting systems for more informed development planning analysis.
Strengthening environmental policies and institutional frameworks supported by policy loans: The average annual development policy lending for environmental issues increased from US$328 million in FY03-07 to US$1.5 billion in FY08-12. The Peru environmental development policy lending program supported the creation of the Ministry of Environment, the setting-up of the agency for national parks and its sustainable financial strategy, air quality monitoring networks and public disclosure of air quality information. It also supported remediation of legacy pollution on mining and, managing overcapacity and inefficiency plaguing the anchoveta fishery, while supporting social protection for fishers.
Last Updated: Sep 20,2013
Multi-stakeholder partnerships are an increasingly important aspect of the World Bank’s environmental engagement as they pool expertise, access, and resources. These partnerships comprise public sector, private sector, multi-lateral and civil society actors to advance collective action on some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
The Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO) is a convening platform that can help to reduce the barriers for countries to access the capital and technical assistance they need to restore ocean health and address poverty. Made up of partners from government, the private sector, and multi-lateral and civil society organizations, it helps mobilize the knowledge, financing and capacity needed to implement the solutions that countries want and lead.
Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) is a World Bank–facilitated global partnership that promotes sustainable development by mainstreaming natural resources into a country’s development planning and system of national accounting. WAVES has been working extensively in Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and the Philippines. At Rio+20 in 2012, 62 countries, 90 private sector organizations, as well as 17 civil society and international organizations expressed their support for natural capital accounting.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) was launched in 2000 to provide grants to non-governmental and private sector organizations to support key biodiversity areas inside protected areas and across production landscapes. To date, CEPF has provided over $137 m to more than 1,600 civil society organizations across 17 global biodiversity hotspots.
The Save Our Species Program combines the financial weight and technical expertise of the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, the authoritative science of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the resources and ingenuity of the private sector to create a mechanism that ensures funding goes to species conservation projects for the greatest impact. To date, SOS has provided resources to protect 96 species in 36 countries. In 2012, SOS announced new investments of US$3.3 million for 23 projects managed by NGOs to protect threatened species around the world.
The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) launched in 2010 brings together Interpol, the CITES Secretariat, World Customs Union and UNODC with the World Bank to promote effective law enforcement nationally and internationally in support of sustainable development and equitable benefit-sharing for the proceeds from sustainable natural resource management. The Consortium has developed a Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit that it is now being applied in several countries to analyze their state of law enforcement. ICCWC also provides training in investigative techniques to judges, lawyers, and customs and wildlife officials worldwide.
The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) was launched in 2008 by founding partners the World Bank, Global Environment Facility, Smithsonian Institution, Save the Tiger Fund, and International Tiger Coalition (representing more than 40 non-government organizations). The GTI is led by the 13 tiger range countries. It is a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society, the conservation and scientific community, and the private sector committed to working together toward a common agenda to save wild tigers from extinction. The GTI Secretariat, based at the World Bank in Washington, DC, assists the 13 tiger range countries to carry out their conservation strategies and drive the global tiger conservation agenda, through planning, coordination, and continuous communication.