Marina Wes, Country Director for European Union Countries
As prepared for delivery
Your Excellency President Klaus Iohannis, Esteemed Panelists and Distinguished Guests,
We are undoubtedly living in difficult times. Russia’s war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis, along with growing global instability, are among the profound challenges that our region is confronting.
In such times, it is difficult to think about taking bold action on climate change. But such action is needed now more than ever. Climate change is already having devastating impacts, and making our current crises even more challenging.
Here in Romania, rising temperatures and increased heatwaves are posing threats to people, the economy, and infrastructure. Annual losses due to floods alone are projected at almost EUR 2 billion per year.
Fatalities associated with extreme temperatures have increased by 25 percent over the last three decades, with urban areas significantly more affected than rural ones. Bucharest and Cluj now experience three times more heatwave days than surrounding rural areas.
This is what makes the report we are launching today – the World Bank Group Country Climate and Development Report for Romania – so timely and important. It lays out options for the country to address the climate crisis. And it contains good news for Romania: the country can improve living standards over the next three decades while also achieving its ambitious climate goals.
Doing this will require a mix of structural, social and economic reforms, as well as effective investments leveraging public, private and EU funds. The report proposes a pathway towards reaching net zero emissions by 2050, and highlights priority areas that will be critical to advancing along this pathway.
For example, climate change will increase the demand for energy for cooling. More water will be needed to produce such energy. With Romania having only half the average water availability of EU countries, integrated water management will be a key priority.
Another priority is the need to invest effectively in the skills of its current and future labor force. Through such investments, and measures to ensure the transition is equitable, Romania can build a green economy that works for everyone.
The report shows how the country can reduce carbon emissions and build resilience, while achieving inclusive economic growth and reducing poverty. This will require strong partnerships across the public and the private sector, academia and civil society to lead Romania on a greener, more inclusive and sustainable path.
This is also the first World Bank Country Climate and Development Report to cover an EU country and a high-income economy. And it demonstrates something that I firmly believe – Romania can become a leader in the region for environmentally sustainable and inclusive growth.