“THERE CAN BE NO DE­VEL­OP­MENT WITH­OUT CLI­MATE AC­TION”

QATARTODAY SAT DOWN WITH THE WORLD BANK'S SE­NIOR EX­EC­U­TIVES WHO EX­PLAINED HOW CLI­MATE CHANGE IS DEEPLY LINKED WITH THE BANK'S GOALS TO EN­SURE POVERTY AL­LE­VI­A­TION AND SUS­TAIN­ABLE DE­VEL­OP­MENT. RE­CENTLY THE BANK LAUNCHED A DED­I­CATED MENA CLI­MATE AC­TION PLAN

Qatar Today - - INSIDE THE ISSUE - BY AYSWARYA MURTHY

Qatar To­day sat down with the World Bank’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tives who ex­plained how cli­mate change is deeply linked with the bank’s goals to en­sure poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

We are be­gin­ning to see the far-reach­ing con­se­quences of the his­toric Paris Agree­ment which, through trick­led own ef­fects, has spelt strate­gic shifts for al­most ev­ery type of or­ga­ni­za­tion. The World Bank, as the most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment bank glob­ally, is cer­tainly no ex­cep­tion. In fact, it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear that goals of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and poverty al­le­vi­a­tion can­not be met un­less cli­mate change is ad­dressed si­mul­ta­ne­ously. “Af­ter COP21, we pro­duced a cli­mate ac­tion plan that talked about how we are go­ing to im­ple­ment our pledge to in­crease the share of cli­mate ben­e­fits from 21% of our port­fo­lio to 28%, with the ob­jec­tive of reach­ing $29 bil­lion a year by 2020,” says John Roome, Se­nior Di­rec­tor for Cli­mate Change at the World Bank. “The key premise of the plan was that you can't sep­a­rate cli­mate ac­tion from de­vel­op­ment ac­tion. The kind of projects you need to com­bat cli­mate change – for ex­am­ple, in­stalling re­new­able en­ergy or in­tro­duc­ing cli­mate-smart agri­cul­ture – are the same kinds that are needed in or­der to give peo­ple ac­cess to ba­sic needs like elec­tric­ity and food. These ac­tiv­i­ties are com­pletely in­ter­twined.”

There­fore it's not sur­pris­ing that the World Bank's donors are seek­ing a com­mit­ment that their funds will be used to main­stream Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions ( NDCs) into the over­all de­vel­op­ment process. Most coun­tries look­ing at ex­pand­ing re­new­able en­ergy are do­ing so in a way that will in­crease ac­cess to the dis­ad­van­taged. Low car­bon trans­port will re­duce green­house gas emis­sions but it also can re­duce con­ges­tion in cities, im­prove travel times and im­prove qual­ity of life. De­vel­op­ment that doesn't take into con­sid­er­a­tion the re­al­i­ties of cli­mate change is ul­ti­mately doomed to fail; in con­trast, funds that are avail­able for de­vel­op­ment projects can be re­ori­ented in ways that are cli­mate-smart. “It is true that in the short term it will cost more to build

“We have to start think­ing about how we can use pub­lic money not to fully fi­nance renewables but in­stead to de-risk in­vest­ment in them. Cover only what is needed from pub­lic money to crowd in pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment.” JOHN ROOME Se­nior Di­rec­tor for Cli­mate Change World Bank

cli­mate re­silience into the projects. But in the longer term, the cost will be re­cov­ered.”

With cli­mate ac­tion so crit­i­cal, there is no time to waste and there are too many coun­tries that need help to make this leap sus­tain­ably. So ev­ery bit of cli­mate fi­nanc­ing helps. Ev­ery last mil­lion is im­por­tant. How does the World Bank's fi­nance fit into all the other funds in op­er­a­tion – the Green Cli­mate Funds and Global En­vi­ron­ment Fa­cil­ity(s) of the world? Who goes where for what? “Each in­sti­tu­tion has its own pro­ce­dure and process of al­lo­cat­ing funds to dif­fer­ent coun­tries. We at the World Bank have cap­i­tal al­lo­ca­tions de­pend­ing on the size of the coun­try, how vul­ner­a­ble or poor it is, its credit wor­thi­ness, etc.,” says Roome. “How we spend that money is de­ter­mined by the di­a­logue be­tween our teams and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in es­tab­lish­ing pri­or­i­ties – called the Strate­gic Coun­try Di­ag­no­sis. In de­vel­op­ing these pri­or­i­ties, we take into ac­count cli­mate ac­tion in ref­er­ence to what is in the coun­try's Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions (NDC). GCF and GEF op­er­ate in dif­fer­ent ways. While there is no at­tempt to en­sure some big al­lo­ca­tion agenda, we do work very closely with the GCF (which is also un­der the UN um­brella) to co­or­di­nate the money they have avail­able with what we have avail­able so that we can blend fi­nanc­ing to get as much lever­ag­ing as pos­si­ble in bring­ing in more pri­vate sec­tor fi­nanc­ing,” says Roome.

Lever­ag­ing is a key em­pha­sis of the World Bank's Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan, Roome says. “In­ter­nally, some of the tar­gets we have set are not around just how much of our own money we spend but how well we use that money to crowd in other in­vest­ments. En­ergy teams are no longer judged on di­rect fi­nanc­ing for re­new­able en­ergy but on how suc­cess­fully they bring in in­vest­ment from other sources. We have to start think­ing about how we can use pub­lic money not to fully fi­nance renewables but in­stead to de­risk in­vest­ment in them. Cover only what is needed from pub­lic money to crowd in pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment; just small amounts to money to en­sure a guar­an­tee/ in­surance mech­a­nism that can off­set risks. This will have bet­ter im­pact.”

For Qatar, in­creased pri­vate sec­tor en­gage­ment is pre­sented as a panacea for all the in­ter­con­nected chal­lenges linked to di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. Suc­cess has hith­erto been patchy. While the Qatari sit­u­a­tion might be unique, Roome says at­tract­ing pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment boils down to a few ba­sics, ir­re­spec­tive of the con­text. “We have to en­sure that there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­pa­nies to make rea­son­able re­turns, af­ter tak­ing into ac­count the risks. So it's a case of iden­ti­fy­ing the risk fac­tors and ad­dress­ing them. Of­ten it is just a per­cep­tion of risk.” But the sheer scale of work that needs to be done could be an in­cen­tive in it­self. Over the next 15 years, the world will need to in­vest $90 tril­lion in in­fra­struc­ture, Roome says. That is more than dou­ble the to­tal in­vest­ment that has gone into in­fra­struc­ture through­out the course of hu­man his­tory. “A very large chunk of that is go­ing to go into ur­ban in­fra­struc­ture – roads, build­ings, trans­porta­tion. How do you en­sure that these are en­ergy ef­fi­cient and con­structed in a way that is con­sis­tent with a low car­bon foot­print?” he asks. This needs new skills, new ma­te­ri­als called into ser­vice, of­fer­ing a whole bunch of op­por­tu­ni­ties for fu­ture en­trepreneurs.

The Arab an­gle

A cou­ple of months ago, the World Bank launched a ded­i­cated cli­mate ac­tion plan fo­cused on the Mid­dle East and North Africa re­gion, one of the world's cli­mate-vul­ner­a­ble re­gions. A whop­ping two-thirds of the pop­u­la­tion live in al­ready wa­ter­stressed ar­eas which will be fur­ther af­fected by the pro­jected tem­per­a­ture in­crease and

“In the GCC, the World Bank's sup­port comes not in the form of funds but rather ad­vice, es­pe­cially on mit­i­ga­tion is­sues and wa­ter de­sali­na­tion tech­nolo­gies.” HAFEZ GHANEM Vice Pres­i­dent World Bank MENA

rain­fall re­duc­tions. Apart from this, the ris­ing sea level will also im­pact 25 mil­lion peo­ple across the re­gion. “And those who will suf­fer through the worst of this are the poor­est sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion who live off agri­cul­ture, a vast ma­jor­ity of whom de­pend ex­clu­sively on the mon­soons,” says Hafez Ghanem, Vice Pres­i­dent of the World Bank MENA, while high­light­ing the re­gion's vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

It is to ad­dress this that the World Bank MENA has reaf­firmed a se­ries of com­mit­ments, ac­cord­ing to Ghanem; 1. To in­crease the pro­por­tion of fi­nanc­ing in the re­gion that is go­ing to cli­mate change – from 18% to 30% by 2020 – that's $1.5 bil­lion of ad­di­tional fund­ing per year fo­cused on cli­mate ac­tion. 2. To fo­cus on mit­i­ga­tion but also em­pha­sise that much more needs to be done on the adap­ta­tion front, with an in­creased share of cli­mate fi­nance. For ex­am­ple, try­ing to help small­holder farm­ers em­brace new types of cli­mate re­silient agri­cul­ture and put in place a so­cial pro­tec­tion frame­work, like in­surance pro­grammes, to pro­tect them. 3. To work with gov­ern­ments in the re­gion on pol­icy re­form and help them im­ple­ment poli­cies that are cli­mate­friendly through analysis and ad­vice. 4. To bring in more fi­nanc­ing from the pri­vate sec­tor that sup­ports mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion 5. To sup­port re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and col­lec­tive ac­tion across the Arab re­gion, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas of wa­ter avail­abil­ity and cre­ation of en­ergy mar­kets. In the GCC, Ghanem says, the World Bank's sup­port comes not in the form of funds but rather ad­vice, es­pe­cially on mit­i­ga­tion is­sues and wa­ter de­sali­na­tion tech­nolo­gies. “The Gulf coun­tries are not look­ing for fi­nanc­ing. What they are work­ing on with in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is knowl­edge shar­ing, ex­change of ex­pe­ri­ences. They al­ready have am­bi­tious pro­grammes in place; now what is needed is to de­velop in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to fi­nanc­ing to re­alise those pro­grammes,” he says

ROOME with PA­TRI­CIA ESPINOSA (right), Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, at a panel dur­ing COP22 dis­cussing Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.