By Bassey Udo
The impact of climate change will worsen the crises developing economies face in terms of hunger, poverty, and unsustainable debt, the World Bank Group President, David Malpass, warned at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali Indonesia on Tuesday.
With poverty above 70 percent, Malpass said climate change would worsen the food production crisis as farmers face serious droughts and the devastation of floods.
“In poor countries, they face severe shortages of fertilizer and diesel. Underinvestment blocks access to electricity and clean water. Current global macro policies create a permanent drain on global capital, risking a long recession,” he said.
Describing the situation as a crisis facing development itself, Malpass said the developing economies would need much greater resources to tackle the menace of climate change.
The World Bank Group, he said, has achieved the largest increase in commitments in its history and greatly expanded trade finance., adding that it was not nearly enough, as the Bank was working to do more.
For Ukraine, he said the World Bank, with the support of several developing economies, has rapidly mobilized over $13 billion, with more in the pipeline.
For food insecurity, he said the Band was supporting 49 countries as part of its $30 billion food security package.
He said it was imperative for the G20 countries, particularly those with large potential, to increase the production and sustainability of fertilizer and the natural gas needed to make fertilizer and reduce untargeted subsidies and trade barriers.
“We’re all working to help build a greener, more sustainable economy through action and impact. Our climate finance has doubled. At COP27, I proposed a major new trust fund called SCALE to provide concessional funding and blended finance for actual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction, particularly in middle-income countries.
“This approach is the key missing piece for climate finance. We invite your input on mechanisms like SCALE to create GHG reductions,” he said.
On the debt crisis, Malpas said it was urgent for the Group to create a more effective debt reduction process for low and middle-income countries that are in debt distress.
He called for detailed, cooperative discussions during India’s G20 leadership meeting.
On the global health challenge, The World Bank chief said the COVID-19 pandemic caused massive reversals in development, including loss of lives and jobs; increased poverty, and school closures that resulted in years of losses in learning, child nutrition, and girls’ advancement.
The world, he said, was still facing multiple crises, adding that the world cannot neglect preparing for the next health crisis.
He said the World Bank was pleased to host the Pandemic Fund, and to support global health efforts together with the World Health Organization (WHO), G20 partners, and other stakeholders.
The new trust fund, which has already risen to over $1.4 billion by 24 donors, in addition to pledges, have already been committed.
This, he said, would support low- and middle-income countries and regions to become better prepared for global health crises and incentivize countries to increase their own efforts.
He said the fund would make dedicated investments in PPR, helping make the world safer. It creates a global public good, with benefits shared by all, across borders.
“Public health systems should be more agile, resilient, and adaptative. The $30 billion of World Bank investments in the sector support a One-Health approach that integrates human, animal, and environmental health, with better data and early warning systems, digital emergency preparedness and capacity building,” Malpass said.