WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012 -- The World Bank Group today released its ambitious, new Environment Strategy for 2012-2022 aimed at supporting countries to pursue sustainable development pathways that are green, inclusive, efficient, and affordable. The new Strategy responds to calls from governments and the private sector for new approaches to development in light of unprecedented environmental challenges and lays out a vision for “a green, clean and resilient world for all”.
“We’re seeing that working through the nexus of food crises, water insecurity, and energy needs is being made all the more complicated by environmental degradation and climate change,” said World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte. “Countries and communities and the ecosystems they depend on need to build resilience while moving to more efficient growth paths. This Strategy lays out the areas where we will put emphasis as we work to respond to countries’ needs.”
As countries seek to reduce poverty in the face of climate change and other major environmental challenges, the Bank Group is providing knowledge, solutions and financing to foster an environment that is:
- Green where natural resources are sustainably managed and conserved to improve livelihoods and ensure food security;
- Clean in which cleaner air, water and oceans enable people to lead healthy, productive lives and where development strategies emphasize low-emission, climate-smart transport, energy, agriculture and urban development;
- Resilient in which countries are better prepared for shocks and less vulnerable to natural disasters, volatile weather patterns and other impacts of climate change.
World Bank commitments addressing environment and natural resource management have grown from $1.5 billion or 8.4 percent of World Bank lending in FY01 to $6.3 billion or 14.3 percent in FY11.
“The Strategy acknowledges the vital role of the private sector in achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development,” said International Finance Corporation (IFC) Vice President for Business Advisory Services Nena Stoiljkovic. “IFC works with the private sector as an advisor, financier, and standard setter to help unlock this potential.”
The IFC invested $1.7 billion in climate-friendly projects in FY11, up 6 percent from $1.6 billion in FY10.
Under the “green” agenda, a key priority is the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) global partnership which supports countries’ efforts to factor natural capital into national accounting systems and through the Global Partnership for Oceans, the focus is on restoring the world’s oceans to health and optimizing their contribution to economic growth and food security. The “clean” agenda prioritizes pollution management through river clean-up and legacy pollution projects while also encouraging low-emission development strategies and financing for renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, and lower-carbon cities.
The “resilience” agenda, targets support to countries to adapt to climate change, improve disaster risk management, with a focus on vulnerable Small Island Developing States to reduce dependence on oil imports, build sound infrastructure, and restore protective coastal ecosystems such as mangroves.
The Strategy includes action plans for the specific environmental challenges in each developing region of the world.
- In Africa, work will focus on strengthening governance for natural resource management given growing pressure on the region’s agriculture, mining, forests, and water basins. In partnership with other agencies, the private sector, and civil society, the Bank Group is seeking to expand access to clean energy across the region.
- In East Asia and the Pacific the Bank Group is supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable urban development and transport, as well as prioritizing the phase-out of numerous industrial pollutants; advising on carbon markets and adaptation in agriculture and coastal infrastructure; scaling up forest management; and strengthening regional partnerships to preserve biodiversity.
- In Europe and Central Asia where many countries are faced with energy shortages and a legacy of industrial pollution, the Bank Group is promoting clean energy and production while supporting programs to dispose of pollutant stockpiles, rehabilitate watersheds and improve disaster preparedness.
- In Latin America and the Caribbean where pressure continues on coastlines, wetlands, and the world’s largest forest cover, the Bank Group is supporting the management of protected areas, the integration of biodiversity conservation into productive landscapes and in some countries, the use of payments for environmental services. It is also providing the world’s most urbanized region with policy advice on cleaner development paths, supporting industrial pollution abatement, and promoting “green cities”.
- In Middle East and North Africa where high population density, water scarcity, and overfishing tend primarily to affect the poor, the Bank Group is supporting programs to strengthen the capacity of countries with shared seas—the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Gulf—to reduce marine pollution and manage fisheries. Other focus areas include desert ecosystems and livelihoods; improved urban and industrial planning; scaled-up solar power generation; and efforts to reduce vulnerability to drought.
- In South Asia where the poorest live in areas of high soil erosion, variable rainfall, and degraded forests, the Bank Group is helping to strengthen the role of natural resource management in the development agenda, strengthen environmental management in industry and reduce the costs to countries of environmental degradation.
Meeting the challenges of a green, clean, and resilient world requires leveraging the comparative advantage of all development partners. The new Strategy recognizes the growing role of the private sector in addressing sustainability concerns, developing sustainability standards, and ensuring that global markets can and do promote sustainable development.
The Strategy also encompasses the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) - the arm of the World Bank Group that promotes responsible foreign direct investment into developing countries by offering political risk insurance to the private sector.
“MIGA is pleased to have contributed to this strategy and to advance the notion that the private sector is absolutely crucial to affect change with respect to environmental issues," said Michel Wormser, MIGA's Vice President and COO.
To measure and monitor progress the Environment Strategy includes a results framework to track progress over time. The new Strategy also advances work to assess greenhouse gas emissions from the Bank Group’s portfolio of development projects with pilots being undertaken in a number of World Bank energy, transport and forestry sector projects.