UK urges World Bank to channel more money into tackling climate crisis
21 October 2019 | Mitigation
UK backing for a World Bank fund to help poor countries will hinge on reforms at the global institution to channel more money into tackling the climate crisis, improving gender equality and ensuring vulnerable countries can pay their debts.
Speaking in Washington, the international development secretary, Alok Sharma, said the size of the UK’s contribution to the Bank’s concessional loan facility for the world’s least-developed countries would depend on a more focused anti-poverty approach.
The Bank is currently seeking contributions from rich countries for the 19th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA 19), which provides soft loans and grants for countries in financial difficulty.
Britain is one of the few countries to meet the United Nations target for spending 0.7% of national income on development assistance, and the size of the aid budget meant it was the biggest single donor to IDA 18, a three-year $75bn (£58bn) round of funding which expires in 2020.
Sharma, with the Bank keen to raise even more money for IDA 19, made it clear he intended to use the UK’s leverage to secure change. In a meeting with Malpass at the Bank’s annual meeting in Washington, Sharma said action was needed to:
Increase the Bank’s financial support to tackle the climate crisis, including helping the most vulnerable communities to become more resilient and preparing for potential natural disasters
Preserve biodiversity and invest in innovative nature-based solutions such as reforestation
Focus on mobilising private-sector investment for the poorest countries – and making a priority of green, quality infrastructure projects that form the backbone of economic growth
Bring about improved debt transparency and sustainability, through balancing the need for finance with limits on how much governments are borrowing from different sources before the International Development Association agrees more loans
Provide extra money and an increase in World Bank staff based in fragile and conflict-stricken countries
Improve rights of women and girls through increasing access to safe family planning services, ensuring girls can go to school and stronger laws against gender-based violence.
Sharma said: “The UK is leading the way to build sustainable economies. It is my ambition that within 10 years our partner countries will raise 10 times more resource through private-sector investment and their own tax revenues than they receive in UK aid.
“To help meet this challenge, the World Bank must prioritise fighting climate change, investing in quality infrastructure, improving the rights of women and girls and giving a lifeline to people living in conflict zones.”
A World Bank spokesman said: “We are always grateful for the United Kingdom’s support of IDA. The proposed policy package in IDA 19 will direct more funding toward people in fragile and conflict-affected situations, and will reaffirm our commitment to projects that benefit the climate and promote greater inclusion, for example on gender and persons with disabilities.”
Source: The Guardian