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Future Engagement in and Priorities for South Asia

Looking Ahead: Future Engagement in and Priorities for South Asia
Looking Ahead: Future Engagement in and Priorities for South Asia

Climate change and variability will have significant implications for infrastructure, agriculture, environment, and energy security, so there are strong reasons to scale up the Bank’s engagement and better integrate climate risks into project design and policy operations. This will in turn require building capacity to fill knowledge gaps, including through the establishment of risk management information centers.

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Updates on projects, data, and research on South Asia

Looking Ahead: Future Engagement in and Priorities for South Asia

The South Asia Region lending portfolio aims to link core activities with:

Climate adaptation strategies, focusing on the rural, coastal, and water sectors;
Climate mitigation strategies, focusing on the energy sector, particularly thermal power.

The proposed work program and funding implications within those categories are as follows:


Priorities for future analytical work to fill knowledge gaps include:

Glacial retreat in the Himalayan region: Build understanding of the causes, scale, and near-term and long-term consequences of glacial retreat, which will have significant implications for basin-level management of cross-boundary water resources;
Climate change risk assessments in high-altitude areas: Engage with scientific institutions to increase knowledge to help high-altitude countries develop appropriate strategies;
• Sea level rise in Bangladesh: Extend current modeling project of University of Tokyo to carry out detailed risk assessment in Bangladesh, where a rise in sea level will have major economic, social, and environmental implications;
Sea level rise in Maldives: Gather baseline data to conduct a risk assessment and determine appropriate adaptive responses;
Ecoservice risks: Assess impacts of climate change on South Asia’s biodiversity hotspots and the life-sustaining ecoservices they provide;
Climate information systems: Focusing first on India, build capacity by establishing center to act as clearing house for information related to climate change and initiate new data.

Priorities for future lending include:

India Global Environment Facility (GEF) Sustainable Land Management Project: Expand and scale up project to facilitate lending for sustainable land management, including improved farming systems and irrigation techniques, new crop varieties, improved management of the commons, and better environmental stewardship;
Water resources agenda: Promote sustainable development and management of water resources, tackling demand- and supply-side problems and giving full consideration to transboundary as well as local issues;
Drought and flood monitoring and early warning systems: Improve institutional and technical capacity to cope with heightened risk due to climate change;
Agriculture systems: Adapt agricultural, marketing, and support systems so they can respond flexibly to changed climate regime.


Priorities for future analytical work include:

Pakistan climate change assessment: Identify sources of rapidly growing emissions in Pakistan, where there is a large potential market for carbon finance operations;
• Bangladesh clean energy: Make timely interventions to forestall lock-in to polluting forms of power generation based on vast coal deposits;
Regional energy trade: Explore opportunities for clean energy trade between countries to mitigate climate change, increase energy efficiency, and reduce pollution;
India integrated planning for sustainable urban transport: Carry out study to identify urban transport initiatives that achieve alignment between climate change mitigation, improved mobility, affordability, and reduced pollution, with pilot implementation in selected cities.

Priorities for future lending include:

Energy sector

Coal-Fired Power Plant Rehabilitation Project: Scale up project as cost-effective strategy for reducing CO2 emissions in India, supported by concessional financing;
Transmission efficiency: Reduce power distribution losses in India through statewide project;
Hydropower and multipurpose dams: Scale up development to clean energy mix and build climate resilience, if combined with storage and flood control capacity;
Rural and renewable energy: Follow up on achievements of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited;
Small and medium enterprises: Strengthen and expand pilot GEF initiative to improve end-use efficiency;
Carbon finance development policy lending: Develop more streamlined procedures to harness carbon finance opportunities through a development policy loan.

Urban sector

Waste management: Scale up current waste management projects to cover major cities.


Sustainable Urban Transport Project: Scale up to cover major cities in the South Asia region. Two proposals are being discussed:
The National Urban Bus Improvement Project in India, which would be scaled up to finance improvements in public transport operations in additional states; and
The Sustainable Urban Transport Project in Pakistan, which aims to support the government to develop and implement a long-term strategy for sustainable urban transport.

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