World Bank plans to take lead in climate challenge

By John Parnell

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has criticised current efforts to address climate change and announced the organisation will be increasing its own interventions.

Speaking at the University of Georgetown on Tuesday, Kim also announced a goal to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, which he said would need adequate action on climate change.

“To date, I believe our efforts to combat climate change have been too narrowly focused, small scale and uncoordinated. We can do better,” said Jim Yong Kim.

“Climate change is not just an environmental challenge. It is a fundamental threat to economic development and the fight against poverty,” he said.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the organisation was redesigning its approach to climate change (Source: Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection)

Kim also announced a target to boost the incomes of the poorest 40% in each of the World Bank Group countries.

“I also strongly believe that prosperity must be shared not only among individuals, communities, and nations, but also across generations. If we do not act to curb climate change immediately, we will leave our children and grandchildren with an unrecognizable planet.”

New strategy

The World Bank Group is working on a “revamped strategy” to increase its climate change work according to Kim.

“We are exploring a number of bold ideas, including new mechanisms to support and connect carbon markets; politically feasible plans to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; increased investments in climate-smart agriculture; and innovative partnerships to build clean cities,” he said.

World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte recently told an Australian radio station that the organisation had to prioritise support for climate vulnerable countries.

“It means as an organisation that it’s focused on helping countries end poverty and helping countries build a shared prosperity for the future that we understand that that is not going to be possible. If climate change continues at the rate at which we and the science predict,” she said.

International development efforts are currently guided by the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015, 1000 days from Friday April 5.

The proposed replacements, the so-called Sustainable Development Goals, or more loosely the post-2015 framework, are likely have stronger environmental component to them than their predecessors.

The post 2015 efforts are being led by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Presidents of Indonesia and Liberia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf respectively.

RTCC Video: World Bank VP Rachel Kyte warns climate change could derail efforts to tackle poverty

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