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Climate ministers support ‘greening’ of World Bank

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Joe Biden's administration aims to increase the World Bank's focus on sustinability

The World Bank should play a greater role in combating climate change on top of its traditional role as a poverty fighter, according to ministers and delegates gathered in Copenhagen this week to kick-start discussions ahead of Cop28, which takes place at the end of the year.

US President Joe Biden’s administration, which has nominated former Mastercard chief Ajay Banga to run the World Bank, has ambitious plans for overhauling the bank, including a greater role in financing climate initiatives.

Climate ministers and decision-makers from 40 countries agreed there is currently a window of opportunity to reform multilateral development banks, in particular the World Bank, Danish minister for development cooperation and global climate policy, Dan Jorgensen, said.

“We need a greening of the bank,” Jorgensen told a news conference on Tuesday, explaining that the World Bank should no longer focus exclusively on poverty reduction.

“In the future, the bank should look much more at fighting climate change and at climate adaptation issues,” he said.

Discussions also focused on innovative sources of finance for climate action, as developed countries are looking for ways to mobilise a so-far unmet pledge of $100 billion per year by 2025, after the goal was initially set for 2020.

A reform of the ways in which climate action is funded has been a major point of contention in global climate talks.

While the meeting did not result in a particular formulation of what reforms of climate financing should look like, “it’s a growing request from a very large proportion of the parties and participants”, Cop27 president Sameh Shoukry said.

Cop28 will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

The climate ministerial meetings in Copenhagen marked the first time since the last UN climate summit, CopP27, that climate ministers and prominent political voices have come together to discuss key issues of the conference of the parties (Cop) process.