WASHINGTON, December 7, 2010 - To support the World Bank Group's efforts to help developing countries respond to the challenges of climate change, President Robert B. Zoellick travels to Cancun, Mexico this week to attend the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
While in Cancun, Zoellick will meet with government leaders and others attending the conference to help work towards a successful outcome and to share experiences and lessons learned on effective climate action. He will take part in a number of events to draw attention to the needs of developing countries (and in particular small island states) in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, soil carbon and agriculture, carbon finance, and REDD+.
He will also help launch: a new multi-million dollar fund to support developing country domestic carbon trading systems; a new initiative to boost access to renewable energy by climate vulnerable island states; and an international "roadmap" for action on how agriculture can achieve the "triple win" of increased food productivity, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced resilience to climate change.
"We know that the poorest countries will suffer the earliest and the most from climate change," said Zoellick. "They will bear the brunt of changing weather patterns, water shortages, and rising sea levels even though they are the least equipped to deal with them."
"We also know that, while these countries would like to see a comprehensive global accord on climate change, they are not waiting for one," added Zoellick. "They are acting now and acting differently to shift from being climate vulnerable to being climate smart. We are fully engaged and have been ramping up our efforts with countries as they put in place practical, effective solutions leading to low-carbon growth and inclusive efforts to overcome poverty."
Zoellick noted that four out of five of the World Bank Group's client countries have now made climate change among key priorities for their anti-poverty plans. In 1990, about 10% of countries included climate change in their development plans. That number has grown to over 80%.
The Bank Group has worked closely on global climate change with donor and developing nations, using its financing depth and experience to help provide developing countries with some of the financial resources they need. In addition to regular investments, this has taken place through:
- new or enlarged initiatives such as the joint World Bank/Regional Development Bank Climate Investment Funds ($6.4 billion pledged with $4.2 billion in investment plans already endorsed to support more than $40 billion in clean technology projects, as well as extensive pilot projects on resilience, a program on renewable energy for the poor, and a forest investment program).
- carbon finance funds (the World Bank manages more than $2.5 billion in mitigation and adaptation investments across 11 funds and facilities financed by 24 governments and government agencies, as well as 63 private sector companies); and
- financing for low-carbon growth initiatives, -- which includes energy efficiency (EE), renewable energy (RE), reduction of gas flaring, and policy, regulatory, and financial support -- reached a record $5.5 billion in FY10 (which ended on June 30, 2010), up by 62 percent over FY09.
According to UNFCCC, about 85% of the financing needed to tackle climate change must come from the private sector. The experience of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group's private sector arm, shows that climate-friendly investments in emerging markets can be real opportunities for private companies, financiers and institutional investors. In FY10, IFC committed $1.6 billion in climate-related investments and plans to double this rate of activity by 2013. Since 1990, the World Bank Group's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which provides political risk insurance, has provided guarantees totaling over $2.5 billion for green infrastructure projects in all regions of the world.