Biodiversity, Climate Change and Adaptation Nature-Based Solutions from the World Bank Portfolio
Climate change is a serious environmental challenge that could undermine the drive for sustainable development. Since the industrial revolution, the mean surface temperature of Earth has increased an average of 1° Celsius per century due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, most of this change has occurred in the past 30 to 40 years, and the rate of increase is accelerating, with significant impacts both at a global scale and at local and regional levels. While it remains important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse climate change in the long run, many of the impacts of climate change are already in evidence. As a result, governments, communities, and civil society are increasingly concerned with anticipating the future effects of climate change while searching for strategies to mitigate, and adapt to, its current effects.
The World Bank’s mission is to alleviate poverty and support sustainable development. The conservation and sustainable use of natural ecosystems and biodiversity are critical to fulfilling these objectives. Biodiversity is the foundation and mainstay of agriculture, forests, and fisheries, as well as soil conservation and water quality. Biological resources provide the raw materials for livelihoods, sustenance, medicines, trade, tourism, and industry. Genetic diversity provides the basis for new breeding programs, improved crops, enhanced agricultural production, and food security. Forests, grasslands, freshwater, and marine and other natural ecosystems provide a range of services, often not recognized in national economic accounts but vital to human welfare: regulating water flows, flood control, pollination, decontamination, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and nutrient and hydrological cycling. Sound ecosystem management provides countless streams of benefits to, and opportunities for, human societies, while also supporting the web of life. Biodiversity conservation contributes to environmental sustainability, a critical Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and a central pillar of World Bank assistance.