Sustainable development — particularly environmental sustainability — is a central tenet of the World Bank Group’s strategy.  IEG’s new report Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) provides a timely review of the Bank Group portfolio performance and examines how the Bank Group has mainstreamed and measured projects with potential environmental benefits.

Between FY08-10 and FY15-17, the overall share of projects or components with potential environmental benefits has increased 4 percentage points for the World Bank and IFC. However, projects with "Clean" and "Resilient" components, such as climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation, have risen, while support for "Green" project components has decreased, including in some traditional areas of environmental sustainability.

Watch the discussion and debate as to what more the Bank needs to do to ensure environmental sustainability.

Watch the re-play of the live event

View the presentation How is the World Bank Group Supporting Environmental Sustainability? from Independent Evaluation Group /World Bank Group


Read Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP)



Auguste Kouamé
Director, Human Development and Economic Management Department
Independent Evaluation Group
World Bank Group

2017 Results and Performance of the World Bank Group

Stephen Hutton
Senior Evaluation Officer, Sustainable Development Unit
Independent Evaluation Group
World Bank Group


José Carbajo Martinez
Director, Financial, Private Sector and Sustainable Development Department
Independent Evaluation Group
World Bank Group




Julia Bucknall
Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice
World Bank

Manish Bapna
Executive Vice President and Managing Director
World Resources Institute

Hernando Gómez
Director, Green Growth Mission
Republic of Colombia

Tomasz Telma
Senior Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services
International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group


Submitted by Lisa Choux on Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:28


Price signals are very important to incentivize markets to change their behaviors, investment patterns, and product offerings. IFC's business, which targets private sector companies, is very much driven by prices first and foremost before environmental concerns. For example, if a beverage company is interested in opening up a plant in a water scarce region where water is cheap, but promises to create 1000 jobs, what is IFC's role in determining whether this is a worthwhile investment? How do you balance short-term development and client needs with long-term sustainability and environmental challenges? My question is: what can the WBG as a whole do to ensure that private companies are responsible stewards of the planet, while responding to the twin goals and maintaining strong IFC business? Do the incentive structures need to change at the institutional level for the WBG, at the global level (i.e.: the water crisis and carbon emissions), etc.?

Submitted by Monica Tata on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 11:40


The very urgent environmental sustainability measures , arrive from the Awareness that We are all a part of the I, and therefore responsible for the success of the We, or in more financial or economic terms we are all nurtured by the possibility of existence and prosperity of the World and therefore responsible for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem forces in the World Natural Resources we all share in common. We all agree the World Environmental Sustainability is in no way compatible with personal or Corporate economic interests when striving for sustainability, for a growth measurable in the parameters of global well being, that can't be measured in a merely contextual economic growth, the balance sheet must be free of misinterpretations for this do be done, my question is to be taken as a reflection example, of my previous statement: why aren't at least the one's who work and transform the most polluting substances, if not all, Industries responsible for their final product life span? Why is it still more profitable for those Industries to encourage consumers unconscious consumption?? Obviously the production of the product is not reflecting the entire costs of the product life span. Are We failing on ruling for the legislation making the Industry responsible for the entire Life span from any given product from fresh out of the production line to broken down parts, these measurable heavy costs would certainly bring accountability with them! the Industries would measure their growth with the help of new indicators, maybe expanding their engagement with the communities around them instead of the investing in aggressive marketing strategies, and surely working eagerly for developing a sustainable production policy in no time!!

Submitted by Aaron Buchsbaum on Mon, 10/01/2018 - 01:58


I work on the Human Capital Project. The next World Bank "flagship" corporate initiative NEEDS to be on the environment. Why invest in kids if the world they inherit can't support them?

Submitted by Patricia Makwebo on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:19


How are the countries the WB is working with prioritizing issues of climate change and environmental sustainability, especially in the developing countries where industrialization and infrastructure development is the main focus.

Submitted by jason paiement on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:34


The question of "Should the World Bank Group try to promote environmental goals through environment-focused projects? or should the Bank Group mainstream environmental goals in other projects?" is not an either / or proposition. I believe we can and should do both. However, the nature of our engagements in each approach should be both strategic and opportunistic. Too many trust-funded environment-focused projects appear to require considerable staff resources for what can seem to be limited environmental gains. Similarly, mainstreaming environmental goals in other sector projects can be limited and tokenistic if approached in an ad-hoc manner.

Submitted by Hassan Wally on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:40


The World Bank should promote environmental goals through focusing mainly on environment-focused projects. Environment focused projects would be more suitable by their design to tackle environmental concerns; and ensure that the necessary mechanisms for coordination in-between different institutions within a country are in place. This is challenging to achieve in non-environment focused projects and sometimes undermines the achievements on the environmental side. That said, the Bank should also work on mainstreaming environmental goals in other projects, but as a longer term process.

Submitted by Bedilu on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:42


It is very clear that environment focused project contributes to promoting environmental goals, but the scope might be predefined and limited. In another hand, mainstreaming environmental goals in other projects definitely becomes wide in scope as it addresses various sectors. This contributes a lot to ensure the sustainability of each other projects which ultimately benefitted the natural system, including the human system. One remark that needs to be considered in this agenda is that, given all development activities played positively or negatively in the existing natural ecosystem and surrounding human system, in the agenda of mainstreaming environment goal in other projects, a strong bondage shall be created between the two ecosystems (natural and human). This may be realized and ensured by the acknowledging the existing capacity of the natural ecosystems to provide services and create an enabling environment to utilized to ensure human well-being. This is overlooked in every development program planning and implementation. My follow-up question/comment is that to know any future plan to address this overlooked agenda to be considered by decision-makers to include the capacity of each service of ecosystems in the future development plan.

Submitted by Peter Edwards on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 13:36


Related to Patricia Makwebo's question above. Many emerging economies and developing countries are focused on large infrastructure efforts and industrialization often at odds with environmental sustainability goals. How does the WBG plan to address mainstreaming or institutionalizing the Accounting for Natural Capitals or Ecosystem Services into the National Accounts? Implementation of the WAVES effort and UN SEEA approaches seems lacking. Accounting for the co-benefits and positive externalities associated with these environmental projects would help improve your indicators of success. I would also love to see how these are folded in with SDG targets. Incentives for real mainstreaming of these concepts into respective ministries of finance etc might be a way forward. Climate and Ocean related drivers of change are the big issue that needs to be addressed

Submitted by AndyD on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 15:13


The IEG Report finding that "For the World Bank, the share of project components with potential environmental benefits increased from 33 percent to 37 percent " is depressingly weak, and unacceptable. We should expect the great majority of Bank project components to benefit the environment. Also "Support has declined in some areas, such as biodiversity conservation and water resource management..." - this should sound alarm bells across the institution and beyond and calls for urgent and concerted action to address it.

Submitted by Gitau Wamukui on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 01:55


How has M&E functions within the world bank framework affected or impacted on sustainability of projects

Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 03:37


There are no issues other that the mechanism for finance resource management....usually beneficiation and corporate environmental responsibility are a model basis of evaluation..we see merit examples in Argentina and Latin American Countries..

Submitted by Lucy Mbugua on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 06:21


Climate change is important, and environment, however, it has been on a slow motion discussing and seeing the way forward. America with Trump Administration, seemed not to support the Paris Climate Agreement, that was signed by Obama Administration using the most complex diplomacy, I have ever witnessed . This topic is the 21st century challenge, there are disasters everywhere caused by climate changes. Is it possible to intergrate this discussion to the youth Agenda, so that most young people get involved, in environment maintainance. The future seems to have been compromised too much and the youth will fight for their future.

Submitted by Manzo Rio Rio AMINOU on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 07:13


If the environmental objectives continue to exist and become more and more important, it is because in part the approaches used in the management of these had shown their limits. In most cases, decision-makers who promote environmental objectives, proceed through other projects, this approach even if it has achieved somewhat important results remains ineffective in view of the increasing size of the objectives.
For this we think very useful for the Sahel countries such as Niger, the Bank Group to promote environmental objectives should go through local projects focused on the environment. Supervise the local populations for the development of their own projects related to global environmental objectives. This requires action at two levels:
1. Level 1: foster the emergence of local expertise and skills capable of supporting local populations in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of actions contributing to the achievement of global environmental objectives;
2. Level 2: direct funding towards projects supported by local populations and supervise by local expertise and skills.

Submitted by Manzo Rio Rio AMINOU on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 07:50


1. We have developed a little experience in setting up an M & E system at the community level, did you experience how M & E systems can be deployed effectively in the field as part of projects and programs supporting environmental Sustainability ?
2. What types of adaptive capacity outcomes are possible with more time in environmental sustainability programs?

Submitted by Antoine Kantiza on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:04


The climate change including the global warming affects more and more the African continent and it is visible through the irregularities of rains and by the desert which moves forward dramatically from the North latitude or from the South latitude to converge on the equator which is relatively safeguarded this day against desertification and not against the climate change. I think that the reforestation of Africa could be a solution of stability of the climate in Africa and could allow to boost the agricultural production in Africa however the Africa reforestation project requires a big financing. By the way, I ask if the World Bank Group together with other Multilateral organizations financing development are ready to finance the reforestation of the Africa continent in order to stabilize the climate and to boost the farming activities in Africa in the framework of ensuring environmental sustainability in the developing countiries.

Submitted by Thomas Cohen, … on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:50


The research appears to show that World Bank support for biodiversity conservation -- specifically "natural capital" in the form of rainforests, coral reefs and other resources relied on by indigenous populations -- has declined, at least as a percentage of World Bank overall funding/financing. If that is correct, does the World Bank consider that the proper direction? Is there consideration of shifting strategy/policy to increase support for biodiversity conservation?

Submitted by Joseph Ssemombwe on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 12:33


Better results shall be achieved through hands on capacity building in environmental and energy modeling, fund feasibility studies which shall lead to bankable renewable energy projects.
Increase grants for commercial forest farming and afforestation.

Submitted by Shaun Mann on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 12:39


Could the WBG be leading a dialogue with govts on changing the financing mechanisms for environmental conservation? Govts should acknowledge that they are managing their PAs sub-optimally and that there are many opportunities to crowd in private finance and involve communities in shared ownership of environmental resources.

Submitted by Nevena Ilieva on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 13:27


What is your experience with regional policy and coordination organizations that deal with environmental issues, like the Black Sea Environmental Commission, or the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, to mention a few of the very many that are out there? Are they really useful ? What should their main role/line of business be? Do they have the capacity to coordinate and incentivize collective action?

Submitted by Stephen Hutton… on Thu, 10/04/2018 - 14:52


Thanks everyone for all the questions. We will collect them and ensure they are shared with all the panel members, and use them to inform our future evaluative work.

Submitted by Ashwini Sathnu… on Wed, 10/10/2018 - 02:09


Climate change effects and impacts are the important factors and studies which are necessary in the current generational era. Environmental degradation would lead to climate - affecting situations which would lead to economic losses to society. Green house gas emissions, deforestation, heightened urbanization are some factors which could lead to these societal economic fractures. Thus prioritizing on the solutions of environmental sustainability would generate repairs to these fractures. Solutions on Information and Communication Technologies would also create beneficial results, via integrated methods of Accessibility and Inclusive Development, thus striving for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals!

Submitted by TITO Y. NDUKA on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 13:06



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