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
    Air Pollution in Tehran: Health Costs, Sources, and Policies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) Heger, Martin; Sarraf, Maria; Heger, Martin Philipp
    Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), is located in the north of the country with a population of about 8.5 million. The population can reach over 12.5 million during the day, with people from nearby cities commuting daily to Tehran for work. There are more than 17 million vehicular trips per day in Tehran, and many of the vehicles have outdated technology. Thus, the air in Tehran is amongst the most polluted in the world. Topography and climate add to the pollution problem. Tehran is at a high altitude and is surrounded by the Alborz Mountain Range, which traps polluted air. Temperature inversion, a phenomenon particularly occurring during the winter months, prevents the pollutants from being diluted. Several recent trends indicate that reducing air pollution will not be straight forward: rapid population growth (partially due to migration from other cities), industrial development, urbanization, and increasing fuel consumptionare pressure points for clean air in Tehran. To design an effective approach to air pollution management, it is important to diagnose the problem, determine its sources, and identify affordable and sustainable solutions. This discussion paper provides an overview of the seriousness of air pollution in the city of Tehran; quantifies its impact in terms of health and economic costs; identifies the sources of pollution; and, finally, provides a framework to addressthe problem.
  • Publication
    Methodology for Valuing the Health Impacts of Air Pollution: Discussion of Challenges and Proposed Solutions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-06-23) Narain, Urvashi; Sall, Chris
    This report is meant to inform a joint publication by the World Bank and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) on the economic costs of air pollution. Air pollution is a global challenge and one that is acutely felt in developing countries. Illnesses caused by ambient and household air pollution claim the lives of nearly 6 million people each year. The goal of the joint World Bank-IHME report is to raise awareness about the severity of this challenge and to strengthen the business case for countries to take action on reducing air pollution. A secondary goal of the joint World Bank-IHME report is to further the development of a consistent framework for valuing the costs of air pollution in World Bank operations. This report serves as a background paper for the joint report and provides a detailed discussion of the key methodological choices that must be made in valuing the health impacts of pollution and makes recommendations on how these challenges can be addressed. While past efforts to value the health impacts of pollution have greatly contributed to the discussion of challenges and potential solutions, they have at the same time made a number of methodological choices on an ad hoc basis. The hope in developing this note is to bring greater clarity to what the issues are and to provide guidance on how they can be addressed consistently (the note provides clear recommendations where possible and a framing of issues where the literature or the context does not as yet provide clarity on potential solutions).
  • 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
    Reducing Disease Risk in Aquaculture
    (Washington, DC, 2014-06) World Bank Group
    There are thousands of rickettsial, viral, bacterial, protozoan, and metazoan parasites that cause disease in farmed aquatic animals. While the basics of farm-level disease management are known, the interconnectedness among aquaculture installations and between aquaculture and the external environment means that only a few careless farms can ruin an industry. Considering the gravity and frequency of fish disease outbreaks, guidelines on the development and implementation of national policies for their prevention, detection, and management are urgently needed. Hampering this is the lack of a comprehensive overview of the practical ways and means of regulating aquaculture that will permit both governments and aqua culturists to: (1) calculate the cost-benefit ratio of investments in disease control, and (2) find a cost-effective strategy for the implementation of best practices. The study is based on review of published and unpublished data supplied by the Chilean, Vietnamese, Malagasy, and Mozambican authorities, researchers, and local aquaculture investors and other stakeholders. The selection of case studies was guided by the need to explore disease outbreaks in a range of geographical and industrial development scenarios. The three case studies capture the breadth and depth of experience among farmers and governments confronted with catastrophic disease outbreaks in aquaculture. The overarching lesson is that successful aquaculture depends on the capacity of biological systems to support it. Defining the capacities of bodies of water is essential in order to regulate the number of farms and to set limits on the maximum production in farming areas.
  • Publication
    Learning from World Bank History : Agriculture and Food-Based Approaches for Addressing Malnutrition
    (Washington, DC, 2014-06) World Bank Group
    The purpose of this paper is to provide forward-looking recommendations for linking agriculture and nutrition by looking back over the 40 years since both nutrition and rural development began at the Bank in 1973. This paper sets out to explore whether what is currently being suggested has been attempted in the past; in what circumstances, with what sort of support or commitment, by what actors, and with what results. Throughout, the World Bank is a case study set within the larger development aid architecture due to its role as one of the largest actors in agriculture and nutrition investments in developing countries around the nutrition initially was housed in the Population department (1972-75), and then moved to Agriculture and Rural Development (1975-79). Since 1979 it has been housed with health and other human development world. The initial motivation was to showcase the depth of historical resources available in the World Bank Group Archives, and to demonstrate how they can be used to inform current practice. Several lessons learned primarily from the World Bank experience are applicable to the Bank's current commitment to nutrition-sensitive agriculture, as well as to the development community at large, that is tackling the same agenda.
  • Publication
    Reducing Climate-Sensitive Disease Risks
    (Washington, DC, 2014-04) World Bank
    Disease risks to humans, animals, and plants are determined by interconnected environmental variables that affect incidence, transmission, and outbreak. Climate change affects many of the environmental variables that lead to disease. Regardless of the species involved, the impacts can ultimately affect the health, livelihood, and economic security of humans. The objective of this World Bank economic and sector work is to build on scientific and operational knowledge of early action tools to help practitioners reduce the risks of key climate-sensitive infectious diseases by strengthening risk management systems for disease outbreaks. The report includes an assessment of known interventions such as the establishment of surveillance systems, the development of region and nation-specific disease outlooks, the creation of climate-sensitive disease risk maps, and the construction and implementation of early warning advisory systems. This research highlights the need for better understanding of the evolving interactions between the environment and emerging and reemerging disease pathogens. It also points to the inseparable interactions between animal health and human health, which climate change appears to be reinforcing and even diversifying. The assessment looks at investments that can lead to the development of these tools, working toward reducing global climate-sensitive disease risk. Because of the breadth of species affected by climate-sensitive disease, it has been helpful to select a model through which the specific impact of climate change and disease can be traced. In this instance, livestock has been chosen, given its significant global presence, economic importance, and susceptibility to disease outbreak. The livestock sector plays a vital role in the economies of many developing countries. Globally it accounts for 40 percent of agricultural gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Publication
    Household Cookstoves, Environment, Health, and Climate Change: A New Look at an Old Problem
    (Washington, DC, 2011) World Bank
    Open fires and primitive stoves have been used for cooking since the beginning of human history. They have come in various sizes and styles, having been adapted to myriad cultures and food preparation methods. As society has progressed, more sophisticated stove models have been developed. Today's modern kitchens reflect the many types of standardized and specialized cooking devices available, from coffee and tea pots to toasters and gas cook tops. But in many developing countries worldwide, the poor still burn biomass energy to meet their household cooking needs. These open fires are fairly inefficient at converting energy into heat for cooking; the amount of biomass fuel needed each year for basic cooking can reach up to two tons per family. In addition, collecting this fuel sometimes can take an hour a day on average. Furthermore, these open fires and primitive cook stoves emit a significant amount of smoke, which fills the home; this indoor cooking smoke has been associated with a number of diseases, the most serious of which are chronic and acute respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This report takes a fresh look at what new approaches might be used to tackle this well known yet complex multi-sector issue. Although there are other ways to reduce household air pollution, including inter fuel substitution and household ventilation, this study focuses mainly on the recently developed biomass cook stoves for developing countries and their financing models and sources. Known by many as 'advanced biomass cook stoves,' these new cook stoves generally have better energy-combustion properties and reduce fuel consumption by about half. Such innovations warrant the development of a more serious program to deal with both the emissions and health issues resulting from cooking with open fires or traditional biomass cook stoves.
  • 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
    Strengthening Policy Dialogue on Environment : Learning from Five Years of Country Environmental Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-02) Pillai, Poonam
    The objective of this paper is to review experience with completed country environmental analysis (CEAs) to improve the effectiveness of CEAs as a strategic analytical tool. Through in-depth analysis of the process, methodologies, costs, and results of completed CEA pilots, the paper assesses how effective CEAs have been in informing and providing strategic guidance to the Bank and client countries on environment-development issues and the extent to which they have facilitated donor coordination. The analysis carried out in this paper also provides feedback on when to prepare a CEA, how to prepare and structure CEAs, and how to use specific methodologies and processes in influencing policy dialogue with partner countries. The findings are of potential interest to World Bank sector managers, country directors, CEA task teams, and environmental staff, but also to development partners who carry out work similar to CEAs. The paper is based on a desk review of completed CEAs and on interviews with task managers and members of CEA teams. Several reports, including a fieldwork-based assessment of the Ghana, India, and Guatemala CEAs commissioned by the Environment Department; a review on Tunisia by the Quality Assurance Group (QAG); and a report commissioned by the Latin America and Caribbean Region, based on in-country assessments of completed CEAs, have also informed this study. A detailed case study analysis of each completed CEA was prepared for this exercise; it substantively informed the review and is available as a background paper. The original CEA concept note proposed that CEAs have three main building blocks: (a) establishment of environment-development priorities linked with growth and poverty reduction, (b) assessment of the environmental implications of sector policies, and (c) institutional analysis. Assessing CEAs against this building block structure, the review highlights several findings.
  • Publication
    Mainstreaming Environment in the Implementation of PRSPs in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-05) Kishore, Sunanda
    The current assessment builds on previously published reviews of poverty reduction strategy programs (PRSPs), and is the sixth report in a series. This paper aims at presenting a clearer picture of how PRSPs influence the developmental agenda in 11 African countries by assessing the level of environmental mainstreaming in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Process. The paper includes the following headings: introduction; framework for assessment; implementation of environment priorities; and conclusions and recommendations.