World Bank to boost climate financing share to 45%, broaden climate debt clauses

2023 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund

The World Bank logo is seen at the 2023 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, U.S., April 13, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/ File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

DUBAI, Dec 1 (Reuters) – World Bank President Ajay Banga said on Friday the development lender will devote 45% of its annual financing to climate-related projects by 2025, up from a target of 35%, and extend debt repayment pauses following climate disasters.

Banga made the announcements at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai as the next steps in a broad overhaul of the World Bank to better respond to climate change and other global crises.

“We’re putting our ambition in overdrive and putting to work more than $40 billion per year — around $9 billion more than the original target,” Banga said.

Under the plan, he said that resources would be deployed equally for climate mitigation and adaptation in both the bank’s main lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction (IBRD) and Development, and its fund for the poorest countries, the International Development Association (IDA).

Banga also said that the World Bank would broaden the scope of Climate Resilient Debt Clauses in its loans to cover all existing World Bank loans for the most vulnerable countries.

The clauses provide for a suspension of repayments in the event of climate-related disasters such as cyclones or floods that can sap countries’ resources.

Banga said that such pauses would now cover not only the principal repayments but also debt interest payments, leaving leaders to focus on maintaining access to food, water, power and other recovery efforts.

Founded as World War Two drew to a close to alleviate poverty, the bank is seeking under Banga to expand programmes to respond to climate change and hunger, while boosting its lending power with new funding and balance sheet rules.

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Reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Dubai and David Lawder in Washington; editing by Barbara Lewis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Valerie Volcovici covers U.S. climate and energy policy from Washington, DC. She is focused on climate and environmental regulations at federal agencies and in Congress and how the energy transition is transformin the United States. Other areas of coverage include her award-winning reporting plastic pollution and the ins and outs of global climate diplomacy and United Nations climate negotiations.

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