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Speeches & TranscriptsJune 27, 2024

Remarks by Axel van Trotsenburg, Senior Managing Director of the World Bank, at the UST-USAID High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Climate Resilience

As Prepared for Delivery


Thank you for hosting this timely event.

We are all feeling the temperature rising. 2024 is barely half over and it has already seen an unprecedented number of heatwaves and temperature records broken.

In March, South Sudan turned away 2.2 million children from schools after temperatures soared to 113 degrees, causing the government to announce a ‘serious health hazard’ that threatens students.

Already today over 1.1 billion people lack proper access to cooling.

To make it more dramatic: In order to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, our remaining carbon budget is 200 giga tons of CO2 globally. We are spending 40 giga tons of CO2 a year. Without reduction, the carbon space for 1.5 degrees is depleted by 2029. The heat is on to take action.

If countries don’t beat the heat, the impact on human lives and livelihoods could be devastating.

  • The World Bank is supporting countries by advancing efforts both on adaptation and mitigation and has set a goal of 45% of our financing in 2025 going to climate, with a 50-50 balance across our climate investments to support both.
  • For this fiscal year, IBRD and IDA together will be at around 30 billion dollars in climate financing.

On adaptation, specifically:

We support countries installing early warning systems to predict the intensity and duration of heat waves and invest in resilient health systems.

We also support social safety net programs to ensure people can meet their basic needs during a climate crisis.

Cities are especially vulnerable to climate impacts. That’s why we are financing more resilient urban infrastructure and cooling stations, so people have safe places to go when extreme heat strikes.

These also include investing in nature-based solutions by increasing green cover along the lines of Singapore’s “gardens in the sky” approach.

Cooling – which spans adaptation and mitigation – is also a priority. We are supporting:

  • Energy-efficient buildings;
  • Clean and affordable cooling in rural communities and agriculture sectors; and
  • Climate-friendly vaccine cold chains and clean cooling for health facilities.

On the mitigation front:

We are ramping up our efforts to abate methane through major efforts, including waste management which can reduce local pollutants in urban settings.

We help countries identify alternative and innovative energy-efficient technologies that benefit people and reduce emissions, while also opening up new economic opportunities.

  • In India, our research found that cooling technologies could provide investment opportunities worth up to $1.6 trillion by 2040 and create nearly 3.7 million jobs, while also reducing emissions.

Underpinning our adaptation and mitigation efforts are robust knowledge products and a focus on results. As of July, we are launching the new World Bank Knowledge Compact with a strong emphasis on these issues.

Through our core diagnostic, the Country Climate and Development Reports, we systematically evaluate the effects of extreme heat in countries, including on mortality, labor productivity and the macroeconomic consequences, and provide countries with blueprints to help them prioritize adaptation investments.

We also measure for results, by tracking beneficiaries who are better protected from the impacts of climate shocks as part of our new scorecard. Our goal is to increase the number of people who are better protected from climate shocks. We are also measuring GHG implications of our projects and policy interventions. And are working with MDBs on a common approach to measuring our climate results and impact.

We all know that adaptation finance is today a fraction of what is needed, and too much of it is going towards rectifying mistakes that should not have been made.

To get beyond this and build not just the resilience of infrastructure but of people and communities, we need:

  • Timely access to better information about climate risk.
  • Stronger regulations on land use and new infrastructure – especially in developing countries where there is an unprecedented opportunity to build for tomorrow’s climate.
  • Stronger partnerships so that all of us – MDBs, DFIs, but also private sector investors, rating agencies, etc. – are on the same page to ensure people can survive and thrive.
  • And last but not least: more financing from public and private sources.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this important event today.


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