Concern for the environment is viewed by many as a rich-country luxury. It is not. Natural and man-made environmental resources fresh water, clean air, forests, grasslands, marine resources, and agro-ecosystems provide sustenance and a foundation for social and economic development. The World Bank is one of the key promoters and financiers of environmental upgrading in the developing world. To guide the Bank’s actions in the environment area, the World Bank’s Executive Directors endorsed the Environment Strategy which emphasizes three objectives:
Improving the quality of life - people’s health, livelihood and vulnerability is affected by environmental conditions;
Improving the quality of growth - by supporting policy, regulatory, and institutional frameworks for sustainable environmental management and by promoting sustainable private development; and
Protecting the quality of the regional and global commons - such as climate change, forests, water resources and biodiversity.
It recognizes that sustainable development, which balances economic development, social cohesion, and environmental protection, is fundamental to the World Bank’s core objective of lasting poverty reduction.
Through its Environment Window, the Trust Fund supplements the World Bank budget for environmentally-focused analytical work and non-lending services as well as supporting activities in the priority areas of action set out in the Bank’s Environment Strategy. The resources provided by TFESSD have accelerated and expanded the mainstreaming of environment into the Bank’s dialogue with its clients. The Trust Fund plays an important role in supporting the analytical underpinnings for mainstreaming environmental management efforts in country dialogue and assistance programs. Within the World Bank, environmental objectives are being mainstreamed in adjustment and investment operations; support to environmental policy and institutional reforms is being expanded; and environmental health outcomes are being emphasized.
Trust Fund–financed projects address poverty-environment linkages by investigating the links between poverty, environmental degradation, and health, for example. The Trust Fund also pays for studies intended to mainstream environmental considerations into key private sectors such as agriculture, energy, and transportation. The TFESSD under the Environmental Window has greatly influenced integration of environment through government planning, environmentally sound institutional policies and project design, and local capacity building.
Please see information on specific projects in the links below. Links to general Environment activities and issues can be found in the box on the right.
" [A] large part of the world’s population remains desperately poor. At the same time, environmental factors such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, waterborne diseases, and exposure to toxic chemicals threaten the health of millions of people, and natural resources, land, water, and forests are being degraded at alarming rates in many countries. Simultaneously, far-reaching trends, globalization, the increased role of the private sector and of civil society, and rapid technological advances have been reshaping the world, causing development and environmental challenges to be ever more intertwined."
—WORLD BANK ENVIRONMENT STRATEGY