• Climate change is causing extreme impacts such as droughts and floods around the world, which are affecting billions of people.
  • Below is an exploration of how the World Bank is prioritising climate finance to create lasting, positive change for the world's most vulnerable populations.
  • It emphasises the importance of countries building climate resilience as part of their COVID-19 recovery plans.

Rising temperatures and sea levels, droughts and floods, and more frequent and intense natural disasters are impacting billions of people around the world. In response, the World Bank Group—which provides more than half of multilateral climate finance to developing countries and more than two-thirds of adaptation finance—continues to prioritize climate across all its operations.

Our work is driven by a relentless focus on results, ensuring that our climate financing contributes to development outcomes that improve people’s well-being and also helps set countries toward a low-carbon resilient future. As countries grapple with the health and economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on climate and development is more important than ever before, and there is a real opportunity for countries to make climate action a core part of their COVID recovery efforts.

To this end, the World Bank has redoubled its focus on Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID), pursuing poverty eradication and shared prosperity with a sustainability and resilience lens. We have kept climate at the forefront of our work. In FY21 the Bank delivered record annual climate financing of over $21 billion, an increase of 50% in two years, with half going towards climate adaptation. We also launched our new Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) 2021–2025 to help countries and the private sector undertake high-impact climate actions that also deliver on their development objectives. The Plan represents a shift from “greening” projects to supporting countries in greening their entire economies, and from focusing on inputs to focusing on outcomes.

Ramping up climate outcomes through IDA

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the World Bank Group has moved into high gear, committing over $157 billion to support countries in the pandemic response and recovery. This includes over $50 billion from the International Development Association (IDA), our concessional fund for the world’s 74 poorest countries. As we engage with IDA shareholders to agree on new funding for IDA20, covering July 2022 through June 2025, there is an obvious link to be made in advancing the IDA and climate agendas. Investments in clean energy at scale, for instance, can help countries avoid locking in polluting infrastructure while also achieving their energy access goals. IDA has long focused on such high-level outcomes, aligned with client-country development priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Bank Group’s twin goals of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. With each IDA replenishment cycle, we have also strengthened our ability to track outcomes through the IDA Results Measurement System (RMS), which provides a robust accountability framework to track and report results at an aggregate level.

IDA has played a catalytic role in shaping the Bank’s climate agenda, with the RMS tracking this progress. The IDA20 RMS presents the most comprehensive set of climate indicators of any IDA cycle to date. RMS indicators are hardwired to track climate actions within IDA operations, and they complement policy commitments by measuring IDA’s contribution to climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

Let’s take the case of Bangladesh, which today receives the largest amount of IDA funding in the world, and is home to 165 million people who are highly vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate. With support from IDA, Bangladesh is saving lives and building resilience. On the adaptation side, by building and rehabilitating coastal infrastructure, including 220 km of embankments and nearly 400 multi-purpose cyclone shelters, Bangladesh has increased protection from storm surges and flooding for more than 333,000 people. On the mitigation side, IDA helped increase access to clean and renewable energy for 7.3 million people in remote rural areas, provided 1.8 million rural households with energy-efficient improved cookstoves, and built 1,130 solar irrigation pumps benefitting 35,000 farmers.

Advancing country level action

As we continue to deliver on our ambitious climate agenda and help countries recover from the COVID crisis, we are identifying and prioritizing opportunities for high-impact climate action that enables economic growth. This process requires, among other things, strong analytics and policy advice. A ground-breaking core diagnostic tool that we are introducing this year—the Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs)—will help inform country programs financed by the Bank Group, by governments themselves, and by other financiers to advance climate action while also making progress on a country’s broader development agenda.

These CCDRs, prepared with expertise from across the Bank Group and the IMF, will provide analysis unique to each individual country, highlighting where climate and development intersect. They will include sectoral transitions that could unlock economic opportunities and take into account other key issues like social and economic inclusion. We aim to deliver 25 CCDRs by mid-2022. The Bank Group will also actively engage with governments, the private sector, academia, and civil society during this process.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.

To limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policy-makers, and civil society advance comprehensive near- and long-term climate actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The World Economic Forum's Climate Initiative supports the scaling and acceleration of global climate action through public and private-sector collaboration. The Initiative works across several workstreams to develop and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.

This includes the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders from various industries developing cost-effective solutions to transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs use their position and influence with policy-makers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of delivering a safer climate.

Contact us to get involved.

Climate change is a global challenge. While global goals are in the spotlight at forums like COP26, it is local action, customized to the specific climate goals of each country, that will drive success. The two go hand-in-hand and that is where IDA comes in. As the IDA20 replenishment concludes in December, we will continue to provide countries with the support needed to attain their climate ambition as part of a broader story of development outcomes.