World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, concluding a two-day trip to Bangladesh focused on the country's successes in reducing extreme poverty, pledged $2 billion over the next three years in new funding to help the country become less vulnerable to climate change.
Kim made the pledge after touring schools that double as cyclone shelters during major storms. He also visited rural communities in more remote locations that are enjoying the benefits of electricity in their homes and shops through solar systems as part of the country's green-growth agenda. Kim met with rural residents who told him that electricity has helped transformed their lives, improving their livelihoods and building infrastructure for the entire community.
Bangladesh is among the countries most at risk from the impacts of climate change. We must confront climate change now as it hits the poor the hardest, said Kim. Bangladesh has been a forerunner in adaptation and stronger disaster-coping mechanisms and these have reduced the impact of recent storms, cyclones, and floods. And the World Bank Group plans to help Bangladesh become even more resilient to climate change.
Bangladesh, with active community participation, has improved defensive measures, including early warning systems, cyclone shelters, evacuation plans, coastal embankments, reforestation schemes and increased awareness and communication. These measures have reduced deaths in major storms.
The dramatic decline in deaths demonstrates that Bangladesh's adaptation measures do work, said Kim. I'm most impressed by the resilience of the people of Bangladesh at a time when climate change puts their lives and livelihoods at risk. Their determination to provide their children with better opportunities underpins Bangladesh's powerful development story and the country can do even better if it addresses its challenges in climate change, infrastructure, human development, governance, and attracting private sector investments.
On Kim's first day in Bangladesh, he marked End Poverty Day to celebrate the country's achievements in helping millions of people lift themselves out of poverty. The $2 billion pledge in new money for climate change is in addition to $1 billion pledged by Kim on Monday to end childhood stunting in Bangladesh. Both amounts are contingent on a successful replenishment of the International Development Association, the World Bank's fund for the poorest countries, which should be agreed in December.
Since Bangladesh's independence, the World Bank Group has been the country's largest development partner in terms of volume of financing and provided more than $24 billion. Currently Bangladesh is the largest recipient of funds from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group's fund for the poorest countries with 38 projects and a total commitment of more than $9.5 billion. Its private sector arm, IFC, has a committed portfolio of $1 billion and MIGA has $305 million in gross exposure in Bangladesh.
Source: World Bank