Eleventh Hour: Making finance work for climate and the environment

By Branch


The World Bank Group, one of the world’s largest sources of funding for developing countries to reduce poverty, increase shared prosperity, and promote sustainable development, is in the process of developing its Evolution Roadmap, which will spell out how the institution will evolve its vision and mission, operating model, and financial capacity.


The planned “evolution” is in recognition that financial and development institutions must do more in addressing the multiple crises faced by the global community, including the interplay of the climate and the debt crises in the world’s most vulnerable developing countries.

Climate change shocks and disasters have already eliminated US$525 billion from climate-vulnerable economies in the past 20 years, according to research commissioned by the V20 Group of Finance Ministers, representing 58 of the world’s most systemically climate-threatened economies.

These historical losses, together with adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, have greatly reduced the fiscal space of low and middle-income climate-vulnerable countries to adapt to the warming world, respond to climate disasters, and meet the cost of low-carbon and climate-resilient development.

In fact, a growing proportion of climate-vulnerable countries are already in or at risk of being in a financial crisis.

Institutions under the World Bank Group should provide the Global South with opportunities to course-correct its debt problems while delivering its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

At the Evolution Forum held last April 11, 2023 during the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Climate Reality Philippines branch manager Nazrin Castro provided the following inputs to the World Bank Group’s Evolution Roadmap:

First, the Evolution Roadmap cannot illustrate the climate crisis as “trade-offs.”

The climate-fueled risks intensify existing risks so it’s not a trade-off. Climate-resilient and the low-carbon transition safeguards our development.

We need the World Bank to step up and pave the way for an international financial architecture that is fit for climate.

Second, a genuine and ambitious Evolution Roadmap must have clear targets and a timeframe in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Roadmap should be a manifestation of the World Bank’s pivotal role in the low-carbon transition and driving adaptation and resilience of the world economy.

Recognizing the scale and magnitude of the climate crisis and its intersectionality with other global challenges, it should go beyond proposing technical overhauls and direction setting.

Third, the Evolution Roadmap should include strategies, actions, and policies that underpin the Accra-Marrakech Agenda pushed by the V20 Group.

The Roadmap should include strategies that will (1) provide necessary debt relief to debt-distressed climate-vulnerable developing economies; (2) shift investments away from fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive projects, (3) channel capital flow into low-carbon and climate-resilient investments in debt-ridden and climate-vulnerable countries, and (4) ensure the availability of pre-arranged and anticipatory financial support for the unavoidable loss and damage in the most vulnerable communities. 

Lastly, the Evolution Roadmap should uphold the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities embedded in the Paris Agreement.

We need the institution to help climate-vulnerable countries cope with the impacts of the climate crisis without diminishing its already scarce resources intended to support other critical economic and development strategies in education, public health, nutrition, energy access, and job creation



This article was originally published on The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ weekly column for the Manila Bulletin called Eleventh Hour.

This column serves a digital space to discuss our organization’s work on supporting the country’s just transition into a clean, affordable, and self-sufficient energy system; advancing sustainable urban mobility to highlight the issues of equity and democracy; and raising public awareness about the need to phase out single-use plastics. It also serves as a platform for Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to share your stories, promote your climate initiatives, and provide critical insights to issues that matter to climate action, environmental protection, and sustainable development.