World Bank Vice Pres­i­dent An­nounces Cli­mate Fund­ing in South Asia

Bhutan Times - - Editorial - (Source : The World Bank)

THIM­PHU—De­cem­ber 4, 2015: World Bank Vice Pres­i­dent for the South Asia Re­gion An­nette Dixon to­day an­nounced that the global lender will in­crease its sup­port and pro­vide up to an ad­di­tional $3.8 mil­lion to com­bat cli­mate change and pre­vent nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in Bhutan and South Asia.

Dur­ing her three-day visit to Bhutan, and in par­al­lel with the In­ter­na­tional Cli­mate Change Sum­mit (COP21) in Paris, Dixon praised Bhutan’s com­mit­ment to re­main­ing car­bon neu­tral and high­lighted two new cli­mate change and re­silience ini­tia­tives dur­ing a joint ses­sion with Bhutan’s Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Forests, Ly­onpo Yeshey Dorji.

The Bank’s sup­port will com­prise a new weather and dis­as­ter im­prove­ment project to strengthen weather fore­cast­ing and nat­u­ral dis­as­ter early warn­ing in Bhutan and the South Asia re­gion, as well as a Bhutan-spe­cific pi­lot pro­gram for cli­mate re­silience funded through a grant from the Cli­mate In­vest­ment Funds (CIF). This grant will help Bhutan de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive cli­mate re­silience strat­egy and pave the way for ad­di­tional in­ter­na­tional fi­nanc­ing from other mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment banks.

“Bhutan is set­ting the stage for an am­bi­tious agenda to tackle cli­mate change and pro­tect the peo­ple of Bhutan and South Asia from the risks of a warm­ing cli­mate and ex­treme weather,” said Dixon. “Bhutan has long been a cham­pion and a global leader for cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and dis­as­ter re­silience. And with this new fund­ing, we’re ini­ti­at­ing a trans­for­ma­tive low­car­bon strat­egy, which will em­brace all sec­tors of the econ­omy and could be­come a model for the rest of South Asia.”

Dur­ing her first of­fi­cial visit to the coun­try, Dixon met with his Majesty the 5th King and the lead­er­ship of Bhutan, learned about the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment progress, and dis­cussed new ar­eas for col­lab­o­ra­tion to pro­mote fur­ther so­cial co­he­sion, re­gional in­te­gra­tion, fur­ther de­velop the pri­vate sec­tor, and bet­ter man­age ur­ban­iza­tion.

While Bhutan shows ro­bust eco­nomic growth and poverty has di­min­ished dra­mat­i­cally, the coun­try’s econ­omy re­lies heav­ily on donors’ aid and re­mains dom­i­nated by the pub­lic sec­tor. Dixon en­cour­aged Bhutan to con­tinue to im­prove its busi­ness cli­mate and in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment, and ac­cel­er­ate its fis­cal re­forms.

“The Bank stands ready to sup­port Bhutan man­age the next stage of its eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment,” said Dixon. “The coun­try has strong eco­nomic fun­da­men­tals and has the po­ten­tial to stim­u­late en­trepreneur­ship and pro­vide more and bet­ter jobs for its pop­u­la­tion,” she con­cluded.

The World Bank in Bhutan:

The World Bank strat­egy in Bhutan fo­cuses on im­prov­ing ru­ral liveli­hoods and man­ag­ing ur­ban­iza­tion while pro­tect­ing the coun­try’s nat­u­ral as­sets. It has cur­rently com­mit­ted $191 mil­lion in con­ces­sional de­vel­op­ment cred­its, a num­ber of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance grants and an­a­lyt­i­cal work for th­ese ar­eas to im­prove fis­cal and spend­ing ef­fi­ciency, fos­ter­ing pri­vate sec­tor growth and com­pet­i­tive­ness and sup­port­ing green de­vel­op­ment. Pri­vate sec­tor de­vel­op­ment is one of the key pri­or­i­ties of the World Bank Group in Bhutan, through sup­port­ing a good en­vi­ron­ment for pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment and job cre­ation.

World Bank Group’s com­mit­ment to cli­mate fi­nance:

Since 2011, the World Bank Group has com­mit­ted $52 bil­lion to more than 900 projects with cli­mate-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties - on av­er­age, a lit­tle over $10 bil­lion a year. Twenty one per­cent of the Bank Group’s fund­ing is cli­mate re­lated and, as an­nounced in Oc­to­ber, the Bank Group is aim­ing to raise that to 28 per­cent by 2020 in re­sponse to client de­mand -- a one third in­crease in direct cli­mate fi­nanc­ing.

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