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Global Program on Sustainability

GPS Pillars

The GPS work is structured around three pillars:

Aerial view of the Zambezi river


Mangrove planting Indonesia



Sustainable Finance

  • Contributing to global knowledge on measuring and valuing natural capital and ecosystem services

    GPS aims to scale up efforts to generate and collect global information on sustainability; and to develop tools to analyze it and provide insights on the effectiveness of natural capital management across different dimensions (e.g. across geographies, sectors, levels of income, etc.).

    GPS is contributing to how the world measures sustainability by improving how countries can account for natural capital and value ecosystem services. The goal is to develop a data platform and toolsets that countries can use to assess natural capital and ecosystem services in physical and monetary terms and analyze the linkages between environmental degradation and socio-economic outcomes.

    GPS is mainstreaming sustainability concerns into World Bank products and processes, such as Systematic Country Diagnostics and the Environment and Social Framework, as well as influencing and informing financial sector risk assessment and investment processes, and the wider development community. GPS does this by producing high-quality analytical publications, including the Economic Case for Nature, Changing Wealth of Nations 2021, and policy papers on greening fiscal, trade and governance regimes.

    The 2019 IPBES global assessment found that current rates of biodiversity loss are unprecedented, galvanizing a global response to reverse this trend and bolster conservation. Contributing to global efforts, GPS supported The Road to Kunming, a research initiative that aims to shed new light on the linkages between healthy ecosystems and healthy economic and financial systems, and on the policies that can maintain or restore that nexus. This includes analytical work to inform the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and put biodiversity on the agenda of decision makers beyond Ministries of Environment.  

    Data generated by GPS is accessible online, allowing development practitioners and the public to customize GPS data as needed. The data offering includes the Sovereign ESG Data Portal, launched in 2019, and updated in 2022. 

  • Increasing the capacity of countries to produce and use natural capital data for policy and planning decisions.

    Although natural capital accounting and ecosystem services valuation can provide valuable information on the economic contribution of natural assets and how best to sustainable manage these resources, many low-income countries lack comprehensive natural capital accounts, or the capacity to use such information in designing policies for sustainable growth. GPS support often includes the development of natural capital accounts, which collect data and information on a specific natural asset in a country, such as forests or water. Examples of Natural Capital Accounts can be found here.

    GPS builds on a decade of work by the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) program and aims to expand the number of countries regularly using natural capital accounting and ecosystem services valuation in decision making. Specifically, the GPS strategy includes:

    • Building and institutionalizing country-level natural capital accounts.
    • Meeting countries’ requests to assist with the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of natural capital accounting policies, programs or projects.
    • Collaborating with partners to establish and support regional cooperation efforts, such as communities of practice and knowledge exchanges, that provide opportunities for peer learning and training.
    • Supporting global knowledge-sharing and strategic partnerships, notably through the annual Natural Capital Policy Forum.

    Scope of WAVES, WAVES Plus and GPS Programs

    The Global Partnership for Sustainability (GPS) projects and locations

    Examples of GPS' work include

    • Natural capital accounts in Morocco for coastal and marine ecosystem services, climate change, and cultural services/nature tourism.
    • Natural capital accounts in Egypt for air emissions, waste, and coastal ecosystems.  
    • Project-level support to Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Madagascar, and the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA).  
    • Economy-wide analysis for improved land use planning for protection of peat, and coastal resources including mangroves in Indonesia (building on work started under WAVES)
    • Natural capital accounts in Uganda for forest and ecosystems (the land account was developed under WAVES).


  • GPS is working to integrate sustainability considerations in financial markets by increasing access to and use of data and tools that can inform investment decisions and related policy and regulation, as well as by providing research that improves awareness and understanding of sustainability related issues. The program supports the development of financial sector policy and regulatory frameworks that better integrate environmental considerations into financial markets through climate and nature risk assessment methodologies (which are applied in the World Bank / IMF Financial Sector Assessment Program), credit ratings and index rankings, financial analysis, and reporting frameworks. A key data source managed by the program is the Sovereign ESG Data Portal, which provides information on countries’ sustainability performance to inform investors’ capital allocation and engagement decisions for sovereign bonds and other related investments. The team also offers technical assistance to governments to assess the impact of environmental risk on their financial sector or broader economy, and to leading investors in emerging markets on how to incorporate these issues into their investment strategies.

    As governments and the financial sector actors expand the scope of environmental risks and opportunities they consider beyond climate change, to include other nature, GPS is supporting these institutions to take practical steps to assess and manage climate and nature-related risks and opportunities in an integrated way. GPS supports organizations, such as the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action in better understanding and addressing climate and nature-related risks and opportunities. We are working with the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD) as they develop scenarios for nature-risk assessments. GPS data and analysis have been widely used and quoted, including in the highly influential Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity published by the UK Government in 2021. Financial sector data and product providers have incorporated GPS analysis and recommendations into their offerings (e.g. adapting ESG indexes to adjust for ‘inherent income bias’ against emerging market countries, to which GPS contributed).  GPS has also contributed to the on-going development of the Biodiversity Pledge and Nature Action 100+ investor engagement approach. Further analytical work is planned, along with the development of innovative financial instruments, and the launch of an updated Sovereign ESG Data Portal.