Overview

  • Context

    The sustainable management of the environment and natural resources is vital for economic growth and human wellbeing. When managed well, renewable natural resources, watersheds, productive landscapes and seascapes can provide the foundation for sustained inclusive growth, food security and poverty reduction. Natural resources provide livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people and generate sizeable tax revenue. The world’s ecosystems regulate the air, water and soil on which we all depend, and form a unique and cost-effective buffer against extreme weather events and climate change.

    Healthy ecosystems are essential for the long-term growth of economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. They provide hundreds of millions of jobs.  One third of the world’s 100 largest cities draw their water supply from protected areas. Three quarters of the world’s top 115 food crops depend on animal pollination. In developing countries, forests, lakes, rivers and oceans provide a significant share of households’ diets, fuel and incomes and represent a precious safety net in times of crisis, particularly for the poor who live in rural areas.

    The integrity and functionality of these vital natural assets, however, are increasingly compromised, with 60 to 70% of the world’s ecosystems degrading faster than they can recover. Mismanagement of the environment and natural resources results in significant economic losses: for instance, an estimated $80 billion are squandered each year due to ocean fisheries mismanagement. Air pollution is now the fourth leading risk factor for premature death, contributing to 1 in 10 of all deaths worldwide and resulting in significant losses of welfare and income. Nature is under threat and one million animal and plant species, out of a total estimate of 8 million, risk extinction, many within decades, according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

    Last Updated: Sep 30,2019

  • The World Bank Group’s overarching mission is a world free of poverty. It aims to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity for the bottom 40 percent of the population in each country, all in a sustainable manner.

    Whether financing access to electricity for school children in rural areas or investing in mass transit infrastructure to create more livable cities, we view development in all sectors through the lens of social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Our aim is to ensure that progress benefits the poor and does not come at the expense of future generations. Investment projects are guided by safeguard policies, which address environmental and social risks, and have been updated to the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), effective October 1, 2018. The new Framework, which will gradually replace the Safeguard policies, provides improved protections for the most vulnerable people and for the environment in addition to greater stakeholder engagement.

    The World Bank’s Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice (ENB) provides expertise, technical assistance and financing to help low- and middle-income countries manage land, sea and freshwater natural resources in a sustainable way to help create jobs, improve livelihoods, enhance ecosystem services (such as carbon sequestration, pollination or water regulation), decrease pollution and increase resilience to climate change. It helps set developing countries on a clean, green growth trajectory for resilient economies and healthy communities.

    ENB supports informed decision-making through analysis and using methodologies such as environmental economics and natural capital accounting. This is because countries are in a better position to seize growth opportunities, weigh pollution costs and climate risks, identify synergies, and understand the repercussions of policy and investment choices to support sustainable development, when they are equipped with evidence and data.

    ENB oversees a portfolio of 151 projects worth $8.06 billion. Over the last decade, the World Bank has managed the largest source of multilateral development funds for protecting biodiversity, supporting sustainable forest management and fighting wildlife crime. All of the projects approved in FY19 (commitments of nearly $1.5 billion) support climate change goals, with much overlap between adaptation, mitigation, and poverty reduction benefits. However, much more needs to be done to convince governments and citizens that investing in the environment is an investment in development, and to mobilize appropriate financing. The World Bank therefore is an active member and supporter of knowledge, financing and awareness-raising partnerships.

    Last Updated: Sep 30,2019

    • In Morocco, the World Bank has lent support for government policies on green growth across sectors such as energy, agriculture, fishing and waste management. Better management of natural resources is helping generate more jobs, value and wellbeing from existing assets, and building resilience to climate change. The phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, for example, has created opportunities for energy efficiency gains and made renewable energy more competitive. Improved governance in fisheries is helping protect the livelihoods of about half a million Moroccans.
    • In Brazil, the Bank worked with partners to support the creation, expansion and strengthening of around 60 million hectares of protected areas in the Amazon rainforest, through a program that combines both conservation and socioeconomic development. The next phase of the Amazon protection project aims to maintain 73,000,000 hectares of forest land, promote sustainable land management in 52,700 hectares, and support actions that will help reduce CO2 emissions by 300 million tons by 2030.
    • The Clean Air and Sustainable Environment project (CASE) is helping tackle pollution from brickfields and transportation in Bangladesh. So far, the project has encouraged the adoption of cleaner brick manufacturing technologies that decrease particulate emissions and greenhouse gas emissions, and is promoting safer pedestrian mobility by improving sidewalks and building foot bridges.
    • Through the Global Environment Facility’s Sustainable Transport and Air Quality Project, Latin American countries have been able to tackle pollution by bolstering their public transportation options and encouraging its citizens to use trains, buses or bicycles instead of cars.  In Buenos Aires, some 180,000 people now use bikes as their main or complementary mode of travel.
    • The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative is a pan-African effort to strengthen the resilience of the continent’s people and ecosystems, from Senegal to Ethiopia. The World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), support this initiative through the Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP), a US$1.1 billion investment program in 12 countries. As of June 2018, SAWAP reached 22 million direct beneficiaries, brought over 1.5 million hectares of additional land under sustainable land management, and built the adaptive capacity of 6,130 institutions.
    • In Ethiopia, SAWAP has had a positive impact on local communities and farmers who have successfully transformed their degraded environment into green and productive land. About 406,000 hectares has been sustainably managed and will be expanded to 1.4 million hectares under the new $100 million Resilient Landscapes and Livelihoods Project. About 3.2 million people will benefit from better water access, greater food security, higher yields, and diversified sources of income – resulting in more resilient livelihoods. Nearly half a million households will also have legal land certificates, including 11,000 landless youth who received land certificates in exchange for restoring degraded communal lands.
    • In Indonesia, where two-thirds of coral reefs are considered threatened by overfishing, the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Project, has helped 358 village communities by establishing marine protected areas, reducing illegal and destructive fishing practices and boosting income from crucial marine resources. 
    • In the past two decades, the World Bank has worked with China to phase out more than 219,000 tons of Ozone Depleting Substances—the equivalent of annual carbon emissions from more than 186 million passenger vehicles—that contribute to climate change.
    • Botswana is using natural capital accounting methods advanced by the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership (which has evolved to become the Global Program on Sustainability or GPS) to develop more sustainable economic policies in the face of water shortages: "Water accounts" are helping the government to identify sectors—including agriculture, mining, and tourism—that can grow with minimal water consumption.
    • In Mozambique, the MozBio project aims to strengthen protection for the country's key conservation areas and improve the lives of communities in and around them.  The project supports a network of national parks and reserves, helps strengthen management capacity and promotes nature-based tourism, as well as business and livelihood opportunities that focus on conservation and biodiversity.  To date, MozBio provided direct project benefits to 31,719 people (37 percent female) in the conservation areas; the number of beneficiaries of community development subprojects reached 20,833 in 2018, and created 1,549 tourism jobs. 

    Last Updated: Sep 30,2019

  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships are an increasingly important aspect of World Bank engagement on the environment, pooling expertise, access, and resources. These partnerships comprise public sector, private sector, multi-lateral and civil society actors to advance collective action on some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

    The PROBLUE program, housed at the World Bank, supports the sustainable and integrated development of marine and coastal resources in healthy oceans. PROBLUE is part of the World Bank’s overall blue economy program, with an ocean portfolio of around US$5 billion and a further $1.65 billion in the pipeline. PROBLUE focuses on four key areas: sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; marine pollution, including litter and plastics; oceanic sectors such as tourism, maritime transport and offshore renewable energy; and the building of government capacity to manage marine resources, including nature-based solutions, and to mobilize private sector finance.

    The PROGREEN global partnership was launched in New York in September 2019, with 200 million Euro seed funding from Germany. PROGREEN will boost efforts to curb deforestation, restore degraded lands, improve livelihoods in poor, rural communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. PROGREEN will also support countries as they meet their national and global Sustainable Development Goals and commitments, including poverty reduction, in a cost-effective manner.

    Hosted by the World Bank since 2002, the Program on Forests (PROFOR) was created to support in-depth analysis, innovative processes, knowledge-sharing and dialogue in the belief that sound forest policy can lead to better outcomes on issues ranging from livelihoods and financing, to forest governance, forest land restoration and climate change.

    The  Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) program, hosted by the World Bank with multi-donor support, helps developing countries reduce deadly pollution. Many of the policies, tools and technologies for addressing air and water pollution already exist and could, if implemented at scale, save millions of lives, especially in fast-urbanizing developing countries such as China, India and Nigeria.

    The Global Program on Sustainability (GPS) is housed at the World Bank and seeks to expand the application of a `sustainability’ lens to decision-making in developing countries. GPS builds on a decade of experience from the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership, which has worked with over 20 countries to build natural capital accounts and use them in development decisions. GPS will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by supporting developing countries’ efforts to manage their natural capital sustainably.

    The World Bank is the lead agency of the Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development, also known as the Global Wildlife Program (GWP), a $213 million grant program by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Launched in 2015, the GWP has projects across 29 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean. The program focuses on designing and implementing national strategies to help countries combat illegal wildlife trafficking, secure wildlife habitats, and promote wildlife-based economies.

    The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) launched in 2010 brings together Interpol, the CITES SecretariatWorld Customs Organization and UNODC with the World Bank to promote effective law enforcement nationally and internationally in support of sustainable development and equitable benefit-sharing for the proceeds from sustainable natural resource management. The Consortium has developed a Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit that it is now being applied in several countries to analyze their state of law enforcement.

    TerrAfrica is an Africa-driven global partnership that addresses land degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa by supporting sustainable land and water management practices in 24 countries.

    Last Updated: Sep 30,2019

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