The World Bank should follow the recommendations of several independent organizations such as the World Resources Institute and the Bank Information Center, as well as the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to bring more transparency to the process of project selection. Transparency is critical for accuracy in connecting climate goals with project selection and also for building trust with relevant stakeholders.
Section 3.0 of the recently issued Treasury guidelines calls for open information—and, critically, supporting documentation—on the World Bank’s rationale for its selection of proposed projects, including any upstream engagement with the borrower, any attempts to evaluate other options for projects, and any supplemental funding sources that might overcome the additional costs of lower-carbon options. This transparency is also critical for establishing more productive relationships with stakeholders and for mitigating concerns about an opaque internal process that insulates it from consideration of these issues.
The WRI report concludes on the same point: “Stakeholders demand for greater emphasis on environmental and social sustainability from policymakers, government agencies and regulatory authorities is necessary to shift these options from niche applications in the mainstream. Without this demand, vested interests with a stake in continuing to depend on inefficient fossil-fuel economies may dominate decision making.”
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