Environment Department Papers

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These discussion papers are produced primarily by the Environment Department, on occasion jointly with other departments. Papers in this series are not formal publications of the World Bank. They are circulated to encourage thought and discussion. The use and citation of this paper should take this into account. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the World Bank.

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  • Publication
    Improving Environmental Sustainability in Road Projects
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-02) Montgomery, Robert; Schirmer, Howard Jr.; Hirsch, Art
    The focus of this document is to provide a wide range of ideas and options to improve the inclusion of environmental sustainability throughout the road transportation project cycle (system planning, project planning and design, construction, and operation and maintenance) based on environmental sustainability indicators and highlighting environmentally sustainable products and materials for road construction. Sustainable economic growth in low- and middle-income countries is a key to poverty reduction and shared prosperity, which in part is dependent on reliable and safe transportation systems. Road and highway systems provide a critical function in creating and maintaining a desirable quality of life.
  • Publication
    Clean Air and Healthy Lungs : Enhancing the World Bank's Approach to Air Quality Management
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-02) Awe, Yewande; Nygard, Jostein; Larssen, Steinar; Lee, Heejoo; Dulal, Hari; Kanakia, Rahul
    This report specifically deals with air pollution, which was reported, by the World Health Organization (WHO), as the single largest environmental health risk globally in 2012 (WHO, 2014a). Air pollution from outdoor and household sources jointly account for more than 7 million deaths (3.7 million from ambient air pollution and 4.3 million from household air pollution). The following sections of this chapter present the objectives of, and key aspects of the institutional context for, this report followed by an examination of some of the major drivers of deteriorating ambient air quality in developing countries; air pollution sources and impacts; and the status of air quality management in developing countries. Chapter two presents the results of a desk-based portfolio review of World Bank projects that are relevant to reduction of air pollution. This is followed, in chapter three, by an examination of case studies of World Bank projects whose objectives include addressing ambient air pollution, highlighting good practices and lessons for future work of the Bank in supporting clients. Chapter four presents possible approaches for enhancing future Bank support in helping clients to improve air quality and reduce the associated adverse health outcomes. Chapter five presents overall conclusions and recommendations.
  • Publication
    Investing in Natural Capital for Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Boosting Shared Prosperity : A Biodiversity Roadmap for the WBG
    (Washington, DC, 2014-06) World Bank Group
    The World Bank Group (WBG) has a long experience in engaging in biodiversity with world-class expertise in the field. It has been the single largest funder of biodiversity investments since the late 1980s. The WBG investments have largely been of two kinds: (1) investments in biodiversity, aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of species, habitats, and ecosystems that sustain healthy ecosystems, while enhancing people's livelihoods and safety nets. These investments have also been providing jobs and economic development in frequently impoverished rural areas for example by supporting protected areas and an increasingly important tourism industry; and (2) investments that add value to projects in other sectors, such as irrigation, hydropower, and infrastructure, by increasing their environmental sustainability. The WBG is a global center of excellence that provides economy wide technical and economic knowledge and expertise on biodiversity and ecosystems. It has the standing and convening power to facilitate participatory dialogue between client countries and networks of other relevant stakeholders on matters of biodiversity and climate change concern, such as loss of ecosystem resilience, forest law enforcement and governance, wildlife trade, and overexploitation of natural resources.
  • Publication
    Climate Change and Agriculture : A Review of Impacts and Adaptations
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-06) Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep; Rosenthal, Shane
    The vulnerability of the agricultural sector to both climate change and variability is well established in the literature. The general consensus is that changes in temperature and precipitation will result in changes in land and water regimes that will subsequently affect agricultural productivity. Research has also shown that specifically in tropical regions, with many of the poorest countries, impacts on agricultural productivity are expected to be particularly harmful. The vulnerability of these countries is also especially likely to be acute in light of technological, resource, and institutional constraints. Although estimates suggest that global food production is likely to be robust, experts predict tropical regions will see both a reduction in agricultural yields and a rise in poverty levels as livelihood opportunities for many engaged in the agricultural sector become increasingly susceptible to expected climate pressures
  • Publication
    The Status and Impact of Bio Safety Regulation in Developing Economies Since Ratification of the Cartagena Protocol
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) McLean, Morven; Foley, Mary-Ellen; Pehu, Eija
    The World development report 2010: development and climate change highlights the link between biotechnology, development, and environment. Aside from recognizing biotechnology's potential to improve crop productivity, increase crop adaptation to climatic stresses such as drought, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, the report emphasizes the need to establish science-based regulatory systems 'so that risks and benefits can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, comparing the potential risks with alternative technologies' (World Bank 2010). This paper explores how the Cartagena protocol to the convention on biological diversity, as well as other important drivers, have affected the regulation of Genetically engineered (GE) crops in developing countries. It examines the impact of biosafety regulation on research and development of GE crops and on product approvals. Finally, it identifies opportunities to advance biosafety regulation in those developing countries that wish to access the potential benefits of agricultural biotechnology. As is true for capacity development in other regulatory arenas, progress in biosafety regulation in developing countries is often impeded by limited political and financial commitments from national governments and by insufficient technical, human resource, and institutional capacity for implementation. It is also confounded by competing or redundant capacity building projects and the absence of products to regulate.
  • Publication
    Mitigating Climate Change through Restoration and Management of Coastal Wetlands and Near-shore Marine Ecosystems : Challenges and Opportunities
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03) Crooks, Stephen; Herr, Dorothée; Tamelander, Jerker; Laffoley, Dan; Vandever, Justin
    There is overwhelming consensus amongst climate scientists that the Earth's warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. To mitigate the most serious impacts of climate change a range of different strategies to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere are required. Building on outcomes and recommendations from various coastal carbon activities, this report explains the GHG dynamics of coastal wetlands and marine ecosystems (chapter two). The importance of coastal wetland and near-shore marine ecosystem carbon pools for climate change mitigation are described in chapter three, with a brief overview of the status of these systems, including drivers of change and implications of degradation of carbon pools, provided in Chapter four. Chapter five gives an overview of policy opportunities under ongoing United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations and through revision of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) carbon accounting methodologies and eligible mitigation activities for developing as well as developed countries. The main recommendations for action are summarized in chapter six.
  • Publication
    Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Climate Change : The Economic Problem
    (Washington, DC, 2010-11) World Bank
    Climate change is both a cause and an effect of biodiversity change. Along with anthropogenic dispersion, climate change is the main driver of change in the geographical distribution of both beneficial and harmful species, crops, livestock, harvested wild species, pests, predators and pathogens. And the capacity of ecosystems to adapt to climate change depends on the diversity of species they currently support. This paper considers the connection between climate, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The impact of climate change on human wellbeing is measured by the change in ecosystem services caused by climate related change in biodiversity. Similarly, the role of species richness and abundance in climate change mitigation or adaptation is measured by the change in the climate-related services of biodiversity. The categories of ecosystem services are those applied in the millennium ecosystem assessment. The paper first considers how climate and biodiversity have been linked in recent attempts to link the two things. From the side of the natural sciences, this covers the consequences of climate change for various dimensions of biodiversity. From the side of the social sciences, it covers the value of biodiversity in the carbon cycle. It then uses insights from the economic treatment of the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem services to re-evaluate the connection between biodiversity and climate change, and to draw conclusions for climate policy.
  • Publication
    Mainstreaming Environment and Climate Change in the Implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-06) Griebenow, Gonzalo; Kishore, Sunanda
    Poverty reduction strategies (PRSs) provide a central framework for macroeconomic, structural, and social policies in developing countries. Because of the numerous and complex links between environment and poverty, it is important that environmental issues are taken into account in the PRS process. This paper follows six previous assessments of the degree of mainstreaming environment in the PRS process using a similar methodology to present trends and provide an understanding of the effectiveness of environmental interventions in reducing poverty. However, it goes beyond previous assessments in three important ways. In-depth country case studies of the evolution of environmental mainstreaming in the PRS process over time. Many countries have now gone through several iterations of their poverty reduction strategies and have received a sequence of credits designed to implement key aspects of these strategies, making it possible to see how the process of mainstreaming environment in the strategies has evolved over time. In this assessment, the authors conduct detailed case studies of this evolution in Ghana, Albania, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. The choice of countries was based on the maturity of each country's PRS process, taking into consideration country size, lending volume, and vulnerability to climate change. An assessment of climate change mainstreaming in the PRS process in the same four countries. Like environment as a whole, the potential impacts of climate change have often been considered separately, if at all rather than as an integral part of development policies. An evaluation of environmental development policy loans (DPLs) in several middle income countries (Brazil, Gabon, and Mexico). DPLs represent an important opportunity to mainstream environment and climate change into middle-income countries' growth and development. This review assesses the process by which environmental DPLs have been prepared and the effectiveness with which they have been implemented.
  • Publication
    Environmental Flows in Water Resources Policies, Plans, and Projects : Case Studies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-04) Hirji, Rafik; Davis, Richard
    The overall goal of this report and the accompanying report summarizing the findings and recommendations, both based on the economic and sector work (ESW), is to advance the understanding and integration in operational terms of environmental water allocation into integrated water resources management. The specific objectives of the reports are the following: 1) document the changing understanding of environmental flows, both by water resources practitioners and by environmental experts within the Bank and in borrowing countries; 2) draw lessons from experience in implementing environmental flows by the Bank, other international development organizations with experience in this area, and a small number of developed and developing countries; 3) develop an analytical framework to support more effective integration of environmental flow considerations for informing and guiding: (a) the planning, design, and operations decision making of water resources infrastructure projects; (b) the legal, policy, institutional, and capacity development related to environmental flows; and (c) restoration programs; and 4) provide recommendations for improvements in technical guidance to better incorporate environmental flow considerations into the preparation and implementation of lending operations.
  • Publication
    Transitioning to Climate Resilient Development : Perspectives from Communities in Peru
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Sperling, Frank; Validivia, Corinne; Quiroz, Roberto; Valdivia, Roberto; Angulo, Lenkiza; Seimon, Anton; Noble, Ian
    The livelihoods of communities in rural areas of Peru are predominantly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture. Given their close connection with the environment, the understanding of how these communities perceive risks and how they adapt to and cope with climate hazards is important for identifying entry points for efforts aimed at building resilience. In this context, it is assumed that the successful use of climate information will depend on appropriate information formats that fit the decision-making structure of communities as stakeholders and also have their trust. In connection with collecting information of community knowledge on environmental predictors of weather and climatic conditions and recommendations for capacity-building needs, it is hoped that the report will provide valuable, initial guidance on which elements play an important role in strengthening the adaptive capacity of communities to climate variability and change. The objective of part one is to place climate variability and change into the broader development of Peru and outline risk management structures. This overview will then be contrasted with the perceptions of risks and vulnerabilities and coping and adaptation strategies at the community level described in part two for Northwestern Peru and the altiplano, which are regions considered highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards. The report concludes by developing a set of overarching and locale-specific recommendations.