Advisory Panel Statement
Introduction and Development/International Development
The external Advisory Panel, consisting of Julia Association) has too often failed to translate its
Marton-Lefevre;1 Bjorn Stigson;2 Christian environment agenda effectively from upstream
Avérous;3 Yolanda Kakabadse;4 and Olav Kjorven,5 analytical work, via Poverty Reduction Strategy
met on May 2, 2008, at World Bank Headquarters Papers and Country Assistance Strategies,
to consider the draft IEG report, “Supporting through to its downstream lending operations.
Environmental Sustainability: An Evaluation of
World Bank Group Experience, 1990–2007,” and • Integrate energy and climate strategies and
prepared this statement afterward. deploy low-carbon technologies.
To support broad-based economic growth, de-
Terms of Reference veloping countries will need substantial in-
The Advisory Panel was asked to consider vestments in infrastructure, particularly energy.
whether the evaluation succeeded in answering The Bank Group is uniquely positioned to help
the questions it set out to examine, whether countries integrate energy and climate strate-
there were gaps in conclusions and recommen- gies into their national development plans, and
dations, and whether the key messages were it should play a stronger role in this, in part-
effectively communicated. nership with other agencies. On the financing
side, the Bank Group could be more active in
Overall Conclusions identifying and setting up financial mechanisms
Overall, the Advisory Panel found that the evalua- as well as further developing the carbon mar-
tion report was of high quality and contained kets to deploy low-carbon technologies for en-
sound findings. The panel supports the findings ergy access projects in developing countries.
in relation to the following issues:
• Focus on environmental management through
• Mainstreaming of environment. investments.
The World Bank Group has yet to internalize suf- While Bank lending is by-and-large subject to
ficiently the environmental challenge in its op- environmental safeguards to minimize negative
erations and business. Despite many excellent impact, only a small fraction of lending goes di-
achievements around the world, despite major rectly to strengthen environmental manage-
intellectual accomplishments and many policy ment, advance environmentally sound growth
innovations, and despite state-of-the-art envi- and investment through and with the private
ronmental safeguards, the Bank Group contin- sector, and promote transitions toward envi-
ues to give low de facto priority to the goal of ronmental sustainability in key sectors such
enhancing the environmental sustainability of as transport, agriculture, and energy.
development. This is documented convincingly
by the evaluation report, particularly in terms of • Coordination of actions in-house and building
the levels of financing dedicated to this pur- momentum with partners.
pose, and the lack of integration of a systematic The Bank Group has not sufficiently acted “as
environmental sustainability perspective across one” in addressing strategic environmental chal-
policy and financial instruments. For example, lenges. In most cases, International Bank for Re-
the Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction construction and Development/International
E N V I R O N M E N TA L S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y
Development Association, IFC, and MIGA have place, to meet broader environmental
pursued, separately, what they considered to be objectives.
their particular niche “in the market.” While we • Examine how the Bank Group establishes its
agree that mandates should remain distinct and comparative advantage in environmental pro-
clear for each of the three, greater efforts to gramming in relation to other players/partners
jointly identify and pursue opportunities for in the field of environment and development,
synergy is expected. including the regional development banks,
The Bank Group should look beyond itself which have a distinct relationship with coun-
and its relations with client countries, not least try governments in their regions, as well as
in the context of developing new strategies in the United Nations and international non-
the environment and climate areas. The im- governmental organizations.
perative of broader partnerships is recognized • Provide sufficient qualitative analysis of the
in the evaluation, but more reflection is needed. breadth and depth of stakeholder/partner con-
The reality of the environmental sustainability sultation and their views.
challenge is such that the Bank Group cannot
realistically take it on in isolation from others. The Advisory Panel recommends that IEG sharpen
It must approach partnership with the United the focus and methodology of future evaluations to
Nations, with the private sector, and with civil include these key performance factors.
society in a qualitatively new and strategic way.
The Advisory Panel considers these findings to be The Advisory Panel understands and appreciates
central to the ability of the World Bank Group to that, following its review meeting with IEG, a
influence environmental sustainability and develop- number of its observations have been consid-
ment and recommends that these findings concern- ered and some have been adapted and incorpo-
ing policy and operations be addressed as a matter rated into the evaluation report. The Advisory
of urgency. Panel would like to draw attention to some of
The Advisory Panel also found that the evalua-
tion did not adequately address some strategic • The Bank Group must step up its efforts—
evaluative issues. These shall not be listed here together with other partners—to make the eco-
in their entirety; however, the following areas are nomic case for strong environmental action,
of particular concern to the Advisory Panel. such as by systematically showing the health ben-
efits of environmental improvements. A Stern-
• More evenly represent the balance between like report on the economics of environmental
project and strategic-level questions. While it action versus inaction should be considered.
has produced interesting findings and data re- • Given the global, watershed developments in the
lated to some strategic-level issues, these are larger environmental field over the last 10 years,
overshadowed by the heavy emphasis on proj- the Bank Group needs a new, transformational
ect and portfolio analysis and performance. environmental policy that addresses today’s
• Provide more data on whether the Bank Group (known) needs and tomorrow’s (still evolving)
addresses the drivers for sustainability, and challenges. This policy must look beyond a use-
make recommendations on how to strengthen ful 10- to 20-year time horizon, to a 40- to 50-
the Bank Group’s strategy and approach. year time horizon as well. This time horizon is,
• Produce a comprehensive analysis of the ef- at the very minimum, necessary to take into
fectiveness of the Bank Group’s performance consideration the lifecycle impacts of invest-
as it relates to gender equity dimensions of en- ments made today, such as in the power and
vironmental sustainability. transport sectors.
• Address the criteria with which the Bank Group • Recent efforts to strengthen IFC’s environ-
makes its investment decisions, in the first mentally oriented operations and IFC’s im-
A D V I S O R Y PA N E L S TAT E M E N T
plementation of its environmental safeguards Bank’s various forestry initiatives together,
system, to ensure their effectiveness and im- provide the ideal backdrop for setting clear
pact, must be redoubled. IFC’s record to date conceptual and strategic priorities on environ-
is mixed. mental sustainability for the Bank Group.
• MIGA needs to strengthen the implementa- President Zoellick has stressed that the time has
tion of its environmental safeguards as well as come for a transformation in the way the Bank
embrace a stronger commitment to proac- Group approaches development. We support this
tively “do good” as an important area of its view.
• The Bank Group should more broadly sup- In this context, the Advisory Panel wishes to flag
port the transfer and effective application of four areas of strategic importance with real
low-carbon technologies and promote more consequences for policy and operational priority-
systematically enhanced technology collabo- setting, in the context of promoting sustainable
ration among developed and developing development and poverty reduction:
• Small and medium enterprises are critical for • Transitioning toward low-carbon economy,
pursuing sustainable economic growth and coupled with expanding clean and affordable
halting environmental degradation. The Bank energy access for the poor
Group needs to pay more attention to this • Preserving biodiversity while improving rural
sector and provide more support, particularly livelihoods
in building much needed capacity. • Improving resource productivity
• Declaring that the Bank Group is a unique and • Protecting water resources, coupled with ex-
special institution of knowledge and learning, panding access to water and sanitation.
a “brain trust” of applied knowledge, is not
sufficient. The role of the Bank (and the entire The global environmental challenge is unprece-
Bank Group) as a knowledge bank must go be- dented and it requires collaboration among a
yond this to delivering, expanding, and testing large number of development partners, includ-
this learning—in tandem with partners. The re- ing the United Nations system, the Global
port has little to say about the impact of knowl- Environment Facility, regional development
edge and learning in the area of environment. banks, bilateral donors, the private sector,
research institutions, and civil society. To succeed
The Advisory Panel recommends that the areas in implementing a transformative vision of
listed above be urgently given priority in further environmentally sustainable development, part-
strategic thinking, action, and evaluation by the nerships are a conditio sine qua non. The
World Bank Group. Advisory Panel believes the most central partner-
ship must continue to be with the client
Conclusion: A Forward-Looking countries, but the challenge of environmental
Perspective sustainability reaches beyond the “confines” of
The Advisory Panel feels strongly that the Bank that relationship alone. Much more systematic
Group needs to interpret the findings and and stronger partnerships must be built and
recommendations of this evaluation against the harnessed across the entire spectrum of
backdrop of environmental, economic, and politi- shareholders and stakeholders. We specifically
cal realities. A number of environmental and mention a few, as follows:
natural resource challenges are now attracting
the attention of heads of states and governments, • The United Nations. Over the past several
as well as macroeconomists and development decades, there has been no real concerted at-
economists. The forthcoming climate change tempt at defining and implementing a com-
framework and a host of evolving climate-related plementary and mutually supportive approach
funds and facilities, as well as efforts to pull the about the roles and responsibilities of the Bank
E N V I R O N M E N TA L S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y
Group and United Nations agencies in the area with civil society organizations and networks
of environment. It is time for this to change. can greatly expand the reach, effectiveness,
Beginning with climate change, but broaden- and legitimacy of Bank Group efforts. Many civil
ing the scope gradually to other areas, the society organizations have a stronger techni-
Bank Group and key United Nations agencies cal capacity than government institutions, and
should work out a practical and pragmatic way can promptly react to immediate needs. While
forward, aimed at being able to offer partner working at local or national levels, many are ac-
countries stronger and more strategic sup- tive networkers with similar organizations
port. The emerging environmental crisis re- worldwide, generating and sharing informa-
quires a forceful and concerted multilateral tion, experiences, and lessons.
response. Countries and people deserve noth- • The scientific community. The evaluation does
ing less. not state much about how the Bank Group has
• Development banks. The Bank Group should de- worked with or tapped the knowledge of the
velop more strategic relationships with the mul- scientific community. While recognizing the
tilateral and bilateral development banks by progress that has been made in instituting
building on their distinct relationships with local modern knowledge management and net-
shareholders and stakeholders in delivering co- works in the organization, it is not clear if the
ordinated support to key environmental initia- Bank Group has effectively harnessed scientific
tives. The new partnership approach adopted in knowledge to develop ”cutting-edge” ap-
the design and implementation of the new cli- proaches. The Bank Group should consider op-
mate investment funds could serve as a model tions for ensuring how best to do this for the
for pursuing other, Bank Group/multilateral de- future, including the option of reestablishing
velopment bank–supported environmental sus- a senior environmental science position.
• The private sector. The importance of the private As the international community focuses on the
sector can hardly be exaggerated. The Bank need to urgently address global and local
Group must take a hard look at how it works environmental challenges, large amounts of
with the private sector, and the signals it sends resources will hopefully be made available to find
to the private sector about its commitment to solutions to these challenges. However, new
environmental sustainability, and the oppor- resources are not sufficient. The Bank Group
tunities and challenges involved in promoting needs to complement them with transforma-
it. The opportunities for partnership with firms tional changes of its corporate culture, making
and business groups at all levels are vast. Tak- environmental sustainability fully part of its
ing a truly strategic and “picky” approach is es- development role.
sential, as is working more seamlessly across the
Bank Group. The Advisory Panel agrees strongly The report’s evaluation provides the Bank Group
with the evaluation on the need to design a with an excellent basis and opportunity for
much more strategic approach to market trans- setting a new course, commensurate with the
formation for environmental sustainability (in- most pressing challenges of our time.
cluding transition to low-carbon economy),
something which requires coordinated work in The Advisory Panel looks forward to the
relation to both public and private sectors. decisions of the governing bodies with great
• Civil society organizations. Strategic partnership anticipation.