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Evolving messages from the upcoming World Development Report

Marianne Fay's picture

The World Bank Group advocates the integration of development issues into the next global climate agreement, without taking sides based on the negotiating positions of individual parties to the UNFCCC. One of the purposes of the upcoming World Development Report (WDR) 2010: Development and Climate Change—as well as a number of other country-level studies at various stages of completion—is to actively share economic analysis and practical knowledge intended to help policymakers in various countries take informed decisions on poverty reduction and sustainable development in “a changing climate”.

Our team of authors is working hard to pull together an enormous amount of analysis into the upcoming WDR. One of our emerging messages is that poor countries will be disproportionately affected by climate change, even as they strive to reduce poverty and boost economic growth—which remain core priorities. A combination of science and economics tells us that reducing potentially devastating climate effects while avoiding an exorbitant price tag will require immediate and comprehensive global action. Indeed, every available tool must be employed for both adaptation and mitigation.

In Bonn last week, there was hope that much can be achieved by a concerted international effort to draw up a fair and equitable climate deal. From the point of view of ethics—and I firmly believe that ethics has a strong role to play—rich countries will need to not only lead the way in adopting climate-smart policies at home and thus generate demand for green technologies, but also in helping close the massive financing gap for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.

With the WDR, we want to capture the scope and significance of the challenge that climate change poses for development. We are focusing on reducing human vulnerability; managing land and water; stimulating development without compromising the climate; harnessing and efficiently using funds for mitigation and adaptation; accelerating the spread of “climate-smart” technologies; and, last, but not least, communicating climate change issues to societies.

The report will be published in mid-September 2009.


I am in complete agreement with the concerted effort being exerted by the group commissioned by the World Bank to prepare the WDR 2010 on the subject of climate change and its multi-prong effect on the global society in terms of financial, social, environmental, and other aspects of human welfare. The report will certainly be an invaluable reference for strategic positioning in anticipating and mitigating whatever ill effects climate change would result to should the people in the world were left to their own without institutions caring for their welfare. The World Bank is definitely doing its share in addressing such issues as climate change and knowing that there is such an institution as the World Bank, hope springs eternal. Godspeed to those commissioned to study and prepare the WDR 2010 report on Climate Change and long live the World Bank. Leodegardo M. Pruna, Ph.D.

Submitted by Daniel Ofoe Chachu on
There are thousands of articles and publications on the subject of climate change and its implications for humanity. The much trumpetted effects of climate change on the developing world is almost deafening but what i ask myself is the extent to which developing countries are engaged in the debates and negotiations about response. More specifically, i wonder the extent to which African scholars and government negotiators are exercising influence in favour of the continent. Of course i am not referring to attendance to international meetings and conferences but rather the extent to which those are harnessed for the benefit of Africa. One cannot be naive or assume that African interests would be covered if there are no advocates. I am no expert in these matters but i believe that all those who read this and can do something about the issues i am raising must act and act now. We cannot afford to be back benchers. Any further delays could mean further delaying Africa's ability to surmount the challenges that confronts it development. It also has implications on the ability of future generations to handle these challenges.

The last, but not the least, of the several issues being addressed by the authors of the forthcoming WDR 2010, to my mind, should be first and foremost in prioritizing efforts in addressing distortions resulting from climate change. By making meaningful use of communication facilities such that people, no matter to what category or level they belong, would be made aware and conscious that climate change could be an aggravating factor in making life more miserable and that by taking climate change into account and helping in whatever way possible in not adding to it would not only be to ones personal benefit but to the many others who would be affected by such action. I think that we can reduce to a greater extent the disproportion which the climate change phenomenon will create in poverty stricken regions by already engaging the people in acquiring knowledge of what the subject is, utilizing the various communication media, and what can be done to mitigate the harm it will cause. The authors commissioned to draw the WDR 2010, I am certain, would find ways to address the subject.

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