World Bank Evolution as if Development and Climate Change Really Mattered: Four Foundations for Successful Reform

World Bank, Washington, D.C. Photo by Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock.

Reform of the international financial system is in the air, with support from both developing countries, as well as the advanced economies that wrote the rules in the first place. Tasked by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, the World Bank has begun advancing an ‘evolution roadmap’ that reconsiders the mission, operations and financing of the institution in order to better provide the global public goods that are so lacking in the world economy today.

What themes would animate a development-centered evolution? How should climate factor into the Bank’s work? And how can the World Bank be at the center of catalyzing and coordinating the financing necessary for 21st century investment-led development strategies that are aligned with shared development goals and climate commitments?

A new policy brief published by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center advance four foundations of a development-centered evolution of the World Bank:

  1. A mission-driven approach centered on investing in national development strategies that are equitable, low-carbon and resilient to reduce poverty and provide global public goods.
  2. A better operational model that minimizes risk and waste, while maximizing sustainable development.
  3. A stepwise increase in the scale of World Bank capital and lending capacity.
  4. Increased voice, representation and accountability to developing countries and their citizens.

The brief is the outcome of a workshop hosted by Boston University Global Development Policy Center in Fall 2022 and is signed by 12 experts (in their personal capacity) who work at some of the foremost institutions and think tanks on global development in the world, including the South Centre, African Economic Research Center, Centre for Social and Economic Progress India, the V20, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and more.

These development experts, largely from the Global South, believe the key to MDB reform is linking climate and development together. The brief outlines those beliefs and the foundations for making it a reality.

Read the Policy Brief