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The World Bank and the Environment

Evaluation Conclusions - World Bank

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    Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations

    Also see: IFC, MIGA and the Environment

    The World Bank has made progress in including environmental concerns in its strategies, lending, and nonlending activities, but the operational significance and impact of these efforts have been highly varied over time and across themes, countries, and issues.
  • Bank financial commitments for the environment and natural resource management have increased since the 2001 Strategy was adopted.
  • Bank nonlending activities for the environment have also been important.
  • Environmental problems are a rapidly growing concern in middle-income
    countries, but results of Bank support have been highly varied, while Bank performance in environmental and natural resource management projects has been weaker in lower-income countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

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World Bank Commitments and Project Performance
Total World Bank commitments between FY90 and FY07 were $401.5 billion in 6,792 projects. Those 2,401 projects specifically identified as involving the environment and natural resource management (ENRM) are officially estimated to include relevant commitments on the order of $59 billion. However, this figure is an approximation and appears to overstate the actual volume of resources going directly for environmental improvement. Apart from environment-related Development Policy Loans (DPLs)-general budget support in exchange for policy reforms-in which total lending had reached $3.5 billion by the end of FY07, ENRM commitments in investment projects considered to be at least 80 percent for environmental improvement were $18.2 billion (while the remainder of the $59 billion was in projects with smaller shares devoted to the environment). The total includes Bank-administered GEF grants, Montreal Protocol projects, and carbon finance. An important part of this figure was for sanitation infrastructure (for example, wastewater treatment plants in China and elsewhere). Because of the way Bank commitments are identified, it is unclear exactly how much lending has gone directly for environmental improvement. But the priority given to lending for environment and natural resource management appears to be modest.

World Bank environmental project performance, while slightly below the average for its portfolio as a whole, has improved over time, being better in the second half of the 1990s and thus far in the present decade than in the early and mid 1990s. This reflects learning and discontinuation of some project approaches that have proven less successful. Performance of environmental projects has been weakest in Sub-Saharan Africa, but there have been a range of successful and unsuccessful operations in all Regions.

Also see: IFC, MIGA and the Environment

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