World Bank doubles financing for climate change

The World Bank Group is set to double its current five-year investments to around $200 billion in order to help countries cope with climate change. 

The funding will cover the 2021-2025 period.

The new plan significantly boosts support for adaptation and resilience, recognising mounting climate change impacts on lives and livelihoods, especially in the world’s poorest countries.

A press release from the Bank states that the new financing will ensure that adaptation is undertaken in a systematic fashion, and the World Bank will develop a new rating system to track and incentivise global progress.

Actions will include supporting higher-quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services to better prepare 250 million people for climate risks in 30 developing countries.

In addition, the expected investments will build more climate-responsive social protection systems in 40 countries, and finance climate smart agriculture (CSA) investments in 20 countries.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that CSA aims to tackle three main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible.

According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018, a report by FAO, the absolute number of hungry people, meaning those facing chronic food deprivation, went up to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016, while over 150 million children stunted, putting hunger eradication goal (by 2030) at risk.

The annual UN report found that climate variability affecting rainfall patterns and agricultural seasons, and climate extremes such as droughts and floods, are among the key drivers behind the rise in hunger, together with conflict and economic slowdowns.

World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim said in a statement that; “Climate change is an existential threat to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. These new targets demonstrate how seriously we are taking this issue, investing and mobilising $200 billion over five years to combat climate change.”

The $200 billion across the Group is made up of approximately $100 billion in direct finance from the World Bank (IBRD/IDA), and approximately $100 billion of combined direct finance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and private capital mobilized by the World Bank Group.

A key priority is boosting support for climate adaptation, recognising that millions of people across the world are already facing the severe consequences of more extreme weather events.

“People are losing their lives and livelihoods because of the disastrous effects of climate change. We must fight the causes, but also adapt to the consequences that are often most dramatic for the world’s poorest people,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva.

“This is why we at the World Bank commit to step up climate finance to $100 billion, half of which will go to build better adapted homes, schools and infrastructure, and invest in climate smart agriculture, sustainable water management and responsive social safety nets”.

There are literally trillions of dollars of opportunities for the private sector to invest in projects that will help save the planet, said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou.

“Our job is to go out and proactively find those opportunities, use our de-risking tools, and crowd in private sector investment. We will do much more in helping finance renewable energy, green buildings, climate-smart agribusiness, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management”.