Published on Voices

We cannot win the climate fight if we don’t stand up for the poor

???Vincent Tremeau/???? The impact of the climate crisis on people’s lives is indisputable. It is also deeply unfair: Those who are most affected contribute the least to its causes. Photo: Vincent Tremeau/World Bank

"The impact of the climate crisis on people’s lives is indisputable. It is also terribly unfair: those who are most affected contribute the least to causing it."

If unchecked, the climate crisis will push up to 130 million people into poverty over the next 10 years, unravelling hard-won development gains.  In meeting the global challenge of climate, we must stand up boldly for the poorest.

In fact, the 74 countries served by the International Development Association (IDA) – the part of the World Bank that helps the poorest countries —account for less than one tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions. People living in these countries are also hardest hit by the impacts of the climate crisis.

As they fight to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, IDA countries are in the race to become competitive in a rapidly changing global economy that increasingly values green growth, green jobs and green sectors.  It’s a tall order: recovering from the impact of COVID-19 on people and economies, dealing with the increasing impacts of climate, strengthening resilience against future shocks and creating better opportunities for people to thrive in a post-pandemic world.

Supporting those most in need

The climate crisis is certainly the most complex challenge, far-reaching global crisis we’ve faced so far.  This crisis cannot be overcome by any sector, country, or organization on its own. There is no vaccine to help the climate. Just like the pandemic, the climate crisis is truly global and requires global solutions.

Building on decades of experience

IDA is focused on supporting the poorest countries in fighting the impacts of the climate crisis and adapting to a new global economy. We are putting to work decades of lessons and experience to help poor countries reduce emissions , adapt to the climate crisis and mitigate the impacts of disasters.

Finance to address new challenges

I am sharing this with you now because financing needs of IDA countries are immense and the climate crisis is aggravating the situation. We will need help to continue our work. We have been grateful for the support of donors over the years, but we will need continued support to give the most vulnerable people a fair chance at recovery and resilience. This month, our donors and partners will come together to pledge their continued financial support, and we hope that they help us rise to the unprecedented challenges.  We cannot win over the climate crisis if we do not stand up for the poor.

This piece was originally published in the Sustainable Financing supplement of The Guardian (UK). To find out more, follow #IDAworks and visit


International Development Association

The World Bank Group’s Response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) Pandemic


Akihiko Nishio

World Bank Vice President of Development Finance (DFi)

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