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FEATURE STORY October 31, 2021

COP26: The World Is Watching


  • The clock is ticking for high impact climate action at COP26 in Glasgow from October 31 - November 12, 2021.
  • A strong theme of the World Bank Group’s participation will be its support for green, resilient, and inclusive recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Watch live-streamed events and participate in the conversation with #COP26 and #ClimateActionWBG.

In 2015, the world came together in Paris to tackle climate change. Six years later, COP26 in Glasgow will aim to deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement. World leaders and national delegations, representatives from businesses, civil society and youth are gathering for two weeks to accelerate progress.


What’s at stake?

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in August 2021, was a code red for the planet: with dangerous and irreversible tipping points coming closer.

: unchecked, it will push 132 million people into poverty over the next 10 years, undoing hard-won development gains. And according to the World Bank’s most recent research, climate change impacts could drive 216 million people to migrate within their own countries by 2050.

A core goal of COP26 is to keep “1.5 alive”, that is to limit temperature rise to the 1.5-degree Celsius limit agreed in Paris.

COP26 is also particularly critical because it marks the moment when countries are supposed to update their original climate pledges (the national targets or NDCs that were submitted ahead of COP21) and make these more ambitious. As of October 27, 2021, 116 countries plus the EU 27 have submitted new NDCs.

Alok Sharma, COP26 President, has laid out four core goals that will strive to “keep 1.5 alive” and deliver a successful outcome:

  • Reducing emissions, including by setting more ambitious national targets (NDCs and LTSs), getting out of coal and halting deforestation
  • Boosting adaptation efforts, particularly for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable
  • Mobilizing finance, including meeting previous commitments and supporting efforts to transform global financial flows
  • Working together to finalize Paris Agreement rules and make Glasgow a success

The climate change conference COP26 is happening in Glasgow, Oct 31-Nov 12

Photo: World Bank

The World Bank Group at COP26

 For instance:

  • In December 2020, the Bank Group announced a new ambitious climate finance target: 35% of financing will support climate on average over the next five years; and at least 50% of IDA/IBRD climate finance will support adaptation.
  • In April 2021, the Bank Group announced it would align its financing flows with the Paris Agreement: World Bank will align all new operations starting July 1, 2023. For IFC and MIGA, 85 percent of Board approved real sector operations will be aligned starting July 1, 2023, and 100 percent of these operations starting July 1, 2025, two fiscal years later.
  • In June 2021, the Bank Group released its Climate Change Action Plan, 2021-25, which laid out how the Bank will support climate action and development challenges together for developing countries and the private sector, over the coming 5 years.
  • In October 2021, the Bank Group hosted a public event, Making Climate Action Count, during the 2021 Annual Meetings, bringing together leaders from government and businesses, as well as people from the frontlines of climate solutions in Vietnam, India, Jordan, Niger, Kenya, Poland, Uganda and Brazil.
  • Just ahead of COP26, the Bank Group issued a series of COP26 Climate Briefs highlighting how climate and development can be integrated and growing inequalities addressed.
  • Climate action will also be an integral part of support for the poorest countries as they recover from the pandemic.

 The Bank is also strengthening local capital markets and greening domestic financial sectors to help private capital flow for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Besides delivering on finance, a strong theme of the Bank Group’s participation at COP26 will be its effort to ramp up support for green, resilient, and inclusive recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as low-carbon transitions that put people at the center.


Watch live-streamed events and participate in the conversation

The Bank Group will take part in key discussions during the two weeks of COP26 focusing on financing, energy, nature and sustainable land use, climate change adaptation, transport and cities. Several events on such topics as the green recovery, roadmaps for the energy transition, investment in climate-smart agriculture, and the value of nature will be streamed live from COP26. You can also follow the conversation with the hashtags #COP26 and #ClimateActionWBG.