Sustainable development practices help countries grow in ways that both mitigate and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change. Through its work in urban development, energy, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, water, environment, climate change, and information and communication technologies, the Bank Group helps countries create the policies, development plans, and practices that form the foundation for sustainable growth.
The World Bank Group incorporates sustainability and climate change resilience into its work across all sectors. It is helping 130 countries take action on climate change, and working with cities through partnerships, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), to help cities account for their emissions and increase their energy efficiency. In fiscal year 2012, the World Bank doubled its financial lending that contributes to adaptation, and it is supporting adaptation and mitigation actions on the ground to finance the kind of projects that help the poor grow their way out of poverty, increase their resilience to climate change, and achieve emissions reductions.
The World Bank Group’s financing for power generation, transmission and distribution, and energy policy and regulatory reform has helped expand energy access to millions of households in over 60 countries. At the same time, Bank Group financing, combined with advisory and analytical services and policy support, has helped launch and scale up renewable energy generation and energy efficiency at national, sub-national, and municipal levels.
In support of sustainable urban development, the World Bank has increased the number of projects and lending volume for urban development over the last decade, helping countries to improve the lives of urban dwellers. Its urban upgrading work in Vietnam, for example, improved infrastructure, housing, and the environmental and living conditions for the poor in four large cities. A municipal services project in Bangladesh helped plan and finance critically needed urban infrastructure and services, such as water supply and waste removal.
In China, the World Bank Group is involved in low-carbon growth projects, energy efficiency, and renewable energy development. Public transportation is an important element of low-carbon growth in cities, for lowering both vehicle emissions and pollution. The World Bank has supported the development of several public transportation systems, including bus rapid transit systems in Bogota, Mexico City, and Lagos, where some 200,000 commuters take advantage of the system every day.
With World Bank support, more countries are also approaching the relationship among land, forests, water, and food security in a more holistic, sustainable way, and they are beginning to account for their natural assets as part of their economic wealth. Through the work of the World Bank partnership Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services, or WAVES, natural capital accounting has become an increasingly important tool to gauge sustainability and ensure sustainable use of resources.
Through all of these sectors, the Bank Group is contributing to the development of a common vision for sustainability and green growth as an instrument to achieve sustainable development.