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Thursday, 8 October 2009

World Bank Launches Consultation Process On Environment Strategy


Development and environment are two sides of the same coin and should not be in competition, said the World Bank at its recently-launched consultation process on the Environment Strategy that will guide it for the next ten years.  We asked what lessons they had learned from the 2001 Strategy about projects or priorities which had not been a success.  There’s no official line on this yet.  Studies will be done, we were told, to analyse the successes and failures but the point was made that big decisions are made by the Board of the World Bank, made up of government representatives from across the world.  European governments have quite a big say as Europe has a greater share in the bank than the US and Japan together.   

The Environment Strategy is not the only one being renewed.  Consultations on an Energy Strategy as well as other sectoral strategies are also taking place.  The environment representative urged participants to submit comments on both the environment and the energy strategies, to give an environmental input into energy decisions.  Getting out of coal, decentralised energy for rural areas and renewables were points raised by NGO and European Commission speakers.

Climate change was the one big ticket item which had finally mobilised governments and finance ministries like no other environmental issue, the World Bank’s environment representative said.  Let’s just hope that this new mobilisation and goodwill on climate can be really taken on board throughout government in both developing and developed countries but also that it won’t just be limited just to climate.  Renewable energies, biodiversity and removal of energy and agricultural subsidies were all issues raised by participants in the consultation process.

The World Bank was also urged not to put everything on hold for a decision from Copenhagen, a worrying sign from those in the know that there may not be a positive outcome this year.  As a finance institution which is involved in capacity building and mitigation and adaptation strategies on climate change, the World Bank were advised that  where they go, other finance follows.

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