Climate Change, Finance and the Multilateral Development Banks Panel

5 October 2009 | Minutes

Michele DeNevers, senior manager of the World Bank’s Environment Department World Bank Annual Meetings, Istanbul, Turkey October 5, 2009

(Panel Chair: Athena Ballesteros, WRI. Additional speakers: Manish Bapna, managing director at WRI, Ama Marston, programme manager at Bretton Woods Project, Liane Schalatek, associate director at Heinrich Boell Foundation, David Wheeler, senior fellow at Center for Global Development.)

Governance Reform

Within the Bank there’s been active discussion about voice and governance to address legitimacy issues raised by NGOs in relation to Bank’s role in climate. This has been actively supported by Bank staff and management and a large shift is expected by spring meetings next year. There is however some resistance from small developed countries that would lose some voice at Bank.


The Bank is waiting and watching to see what is decided in Copenhagen before making decisions about its role in climate.

Climate Investment Funds (CIFs)

The CIFs highlighted some legitimacy issues around governance because of framing of investments and decision-making about investments being housed in the same place. It would be better to have decisions about strategy and eligibility for funding housed in a separate place and then have the Bank make financial decisions against that criteria.

Currently there are no criteria for eligibility for the CIFs b/c developing countries said it would be a form of conditionality.

Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

Compared to standard development projects, CTF projects tend to be more transformational so far. Funding in Mexico will go for improving and expanding the public transportation system. Plans are country driven.

Energy Strategy Review

The concept note for the Energy Strategy Review does look like ‘business as usual’. However, it is early in the process and this doesn’t mean that the outcome of the review will look this way.

Bank needs a transitional strategy for helping people relying on dirty technology or without access to energy get energy in a low carbon way.

Under the Bank’s climate change framework, there are 7 criteria that establish what is needed for any fossil fuel project to be approved. There will be a review by an external expert to decide if criteria are being met.

WB is currently looking to hire a senior expert on renewable energy. There are few kinds of renewables that are on the scale of the kind of energy we need.

Bank expects to see a return to hydro, especially large scale hydro in Africa. This takes a long time to put in place because of social and environmental standards.

What makes the Bank believe it is a better institution for climate finance than others?

World Bank is better positioned for climate finance than other institutions because of its ability to leverage funding. GEF only leverages $1:$1. The Bank leverages $10:$1.

The Bank also has fiduciary, procurement and safeguard policies which put it in a better position than other institutions. For instance, the UN doesn’t have safeguards. If any new mechanism was created, it would have to set up al of these practices.

Is WB prepared to play operating role under guidance and authority of COP?

Lawyers have to look over what “authority” of the COP really means. However, we would be happy to be under the guidance of the COP.